COVID-19 Unlikely to Follow Seasonal Pattern
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Review written by:
Anna Huang, edited by Jingwen Zhang
SARS-CoV-2 has achieved widespread transmission because of its binding proteins and ability to infect both the upper and lower respiratory tracts simultaneously, which are uncommon characteristics of the coronavirus family. Since the virus shares similarities with the flu, SARS, and MERS, there is speculation that SARS-CoV-2 will also subside as the weather becomes warmer. Heat and humidity may disrupt the virus’ fragile lipid shell, as with the flu and the common cold.
Many scientists warn that this trend is unlikely for SARS-CoV-2 because of outbreaks in the southern hemisphere, such as in Australia and New Zealand, as well as warmer regions of the U.S., such as Florida. Some studies showed that coronaviruses are less likely to survive in hotter temperatures, as observed in warmer regions in Asia. However, SARS-CoV-2 is mostly spread through close human contact and large droplets, which are not affected by seasonality in the same way as small aerosolized particles. At this point, it cannot safely be assumed that the virus will subside along with colder weather. Current public health measures geared toward reducing infection rates should be enforced until more information on immunity in recovered patients has been determined and a vaccine is introduced.