The Pandemic’s 4th Wave


Blog Post by Joe Babaian

Today’s blog is inspired by the so-called human-centered waves of the current pandemic. Attribution and design credits to Victor Tseng @VectorSting for the amazing work seen here.

Take a look at Dr. Tseng’s graphic – it’s representative and not keyed to precise times as of today. He created this to be a start to conversation – it’s wonderful for that purpose and more. Or particular concern is the 4th Wave – what comes after. What comes after is going to define and change society in ways we are just beginning to grasp.


  • 1st Wave: Immediate mortality and morbidity of COVID-19.
  • 1st Wave Tail: Post-ICU and admission recovery for many patients.
  • 2nd Wave: Impact of resource restrictions on non-COVID conditions – all the usual urgent things that people need immediate treatment for – acute.
  • 3rd Wave: The impact of interrupted care of chronic conditions (people stayed home).
  • 4th Wave: Psychic trauma, mental illness, PTSD, economic injury, burnout, and more.

Today on #hcldr I’m going to use this as our prompt, the goal isn’t for me to tell you what these waves mean, the goal is for our community to share their understanding and insight into this method of framing. The greater good is found together. We are truly stronger together!

Join us tonight, April 7. 2020 at 7:30pm Central for #hcldr. We’re waiting for you.

Click here for your local time and date link.

  • T1 How do the 4 waves of the pandemic from @VectorSting help frame the overall health footprint we all face? Is this a useful metaphor?
  • T2 Where will our greatest challenge really be faced when considering these waves or phases of the pandemic? Why?
  • T3 What short & long-term impacts do you see arising from the 3rd Wave (Interrupted care of chronic conditions) and 4th Wave (Psychic trauma, mental illness, PTSD, economic injury, burnout, & more)?
  • T4 What would you add to these descriptions to spark greater understanding and action? Further feedback?

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

One comment

  1. […] few weeks ago, the Healthcare Leadership Blog published this essay by Joe Babaian which outlined the 4 Waves of the COVID-19 […]

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