Many of us are hoping that as the weather warms, the Coronavirus Pandemic will end following the path of the regular flu season. This thought gives comfort that our lives and plans will resume and not be affected.
The seasonality of typical cases of flu and colds offers some hope to the current Covid19 situation, yet given the global reach of the Coronavirus, not all of the world is moving into spring and summer.
For the Northern Hemisphere, the analogy I heard on NPR was the Coronavirus is like a raging wildfire and the warmer season is like a light rain upon that fire. It will help, but it won’t put it out.
Even with diminishing infections from seasonality, social distancing, and stay-at-home measures designed to flatten the curve, another concern expressed by experts is that once winter returns, we may see a resurgence in Covid19.
Why is there a cold and flu “season”?
Simply put, virus droplets survive longer in cold, dry air than in warm, moist air. Furthermore, during colder weather people congregate inside increasing the risk of transmission from close contact.
“Coronaviruses tend to be associated with winter because of how they’re spread,” explains Elizabeth McGraw, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University. For one thing, in winter months, people may cluster together more indoors, increasing the number of folks at risk of becoming infection by someone who’s contagious.
In addition, there’s the matter of transmission. Viruses spread through respiratory droplets that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. And the droplets are more likely to spread under certain conditions. “What we know is that they’re [the droplets] are better at staying afloat when the air is cold and dry, ” says McGraw. “When the air is humid and warm, [the droplets] fall to the ground more quickly, and it makes transmission harder.”Can Coronavirus Be Crushed By Warmer Weather?
It is expected cases will taper off during the warmer months. Combined with efforts to flatten the curve, one would think we may see a significant lessening this summer.
For the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite effect may be true as they head towards colder weather ensuring the pandemic may continue.
Summer will bring some seasonal diminishing of the Coronavirus, and we will be beyond peak cases in the United States by then; however, experts caution it is premature to make such speculation since little is known about the Novel Coronavirus.