By Jan Carabeo


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nation’s top health officials are warning about a possible second wave of the coronavirus. Health officials say the virus could come back this winter with vengeance.

That’s the warning from CDC Director Robert Redfield who told the Washington Post on Tuesday that fighting the virus could become more difficult in the winter when it dovetails with the beginning of the flu season.

The World Health Organization echoed that sentiment this week, suggesting politics are also getting in the way.

“Trust us, the worst is yet ahead of us,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”

Meanwhile, the rush is on to find new therapies to treat and potentially cure the virus.

It appears one of the more successful treatments is being performed in the Philadelphia region.

Scientists across the globe hope there will be reliable therapy by the fall.

There has been early hope that the drug Hydroxychloroquine would be that medicine. President Donald Trump even touted its effects.

“It could be a game-changer,” President Trump said.

But a new study of U.S. veterans infected with COVID-19 found people given the drug died at a higher rate.

About 28% who were given the drug plus usual care died versus the 11% of those getting just routine care.

But the study was not a rigorous experiment and has yet to be reviewed by other scientists.

One of the more promising interventions is using blood plasma from recovered patients and giving it to those who are critically ill.

That is showing signs of success across the country.

In South Jersey, Doctors at Virtua Voorhees Hospital successfully treated their first two patients with the procedure.

“We managed to take the plasma from a recovered family member and transfuse it into my patient and then my patient’s condition began to improve within 24 to 48 hours,” Dr. Lukasz Polisiakiewicz. “You saw dramatic improvements in his oxygenation as well as his chest X-rays so it was quite a miraculous feat.”

Doctors and researchers are now urging those who’ve survived the coronavirus to consider signing up to donate plasma to help fight the pandemic.

CBS3 also learned more about the origins of the virus in the United States.

It apparently spread earlier than officials thought. We originally thought the first COVID-19 death happened on Feb. 29 in the Seattle area.

On Tuesday, it was reported that two other people died of the virus in California in early and mid-February.