On April 14, the single-day death toll in Iran from the novel coronavirus dropped to double-digit figures for the first time in a month, giving the nation’s overburdened health workers a great psychological boost.

From 151 single-day fatalities less than two weeks ago to 73 on Saturday, cases have dropped considerably and consistently, except for April 9 and 10, when the curve briefly tilted upwards.

New infections have also come down from a single-day peak of 3,186 cases on March 30 to 1,343 on April 19, marking a significant drop.

The total number of recoveries as of April 19 are 57,023. According to health officials, around 53% of those who were infected have recovered.

How this breakthrough came about is the subject of intense speculation.

While some credit the primary healthcare system, plasma therapy and the services of healthcare providers, others see it partly as an outcome of strict compliance with social distancing guidelines and the enforcement of the lockdown in the past few weeks.

However, there is a section of people that believes the figures may not be accurate, especially in Tehran, where the situation continues to be grim despite low-risk businesses being allowed to resume work.

While the drop in new infections and fatalities from the pandemic has inspired hope and optimism in Iran, there is no reason to lower one’s guard and be complacent.

A study by Iran parliament’s research center, based on the Health Ministry’s epidemiological models, carries some stern warnings if the social distancing guidelines are not observed unfailingly.

The virus can claim nearly 30,000 lives in Iran if only 10% of plans to contain its spread are followed, said the study, adding the figure could drop to 6,000 if 40% of the guidelines are observed.

The 46-page document further warns of a “second wave” of the coronavirus and says the peak in Iran could be as far away as November.

Health experts also warned of a second wave of infections in China also, and they say what unfolds in the Chinese province of Hubei – where the coronavirus first emerged – will be relevant to many countries across the world where the battle against the virus is currently underway.

Extensive testing, contact tracing and social distancing measures are necessary to prevent the resurgence of COVID-19, according to health experts.

“Our case is little different from China,” said Jalili. “The cases have practically dropped to zero in China while we still have thousands of cases each day. So, while we need to bring down new infections first, it’s also essential to remember that there could be a second wave too.”

“To prevent that and to come out and breathe freely again, let’s stay home for now,” he added.