With the ongoing spread of the coronavirus many are hoping that, similar to the flu, the warmer weather will see it dissipate now that spring is on the way.
And despite the World Health Organization now labeling COVID-19 a pandemic and over 1000 cases in the United States so far, some experts believe higher temperatures could usher in a seasonal downturn for its spread.
Dr. Gregory Gray, infectious disease epidemiologist and Professor at Duke University, says the warmer months may slow things down but won’t completely curtail the transmission of coronavirus.
"Routinely seen coronaviruses often wane during summer months as buildings have more air circulation, [people] tend to congregate less, and people are more exposed to UV light which can kill viruses,” he told CBS News.
“My hunch is we may see a 10% to 20% slowdown in transmission, but I doubt the virus will cease infecting people during summer months."
Another thing to keep in mind is that with it getting warmer in our part of the world, countries below the equator will soon be entering their colder season and could see an increase in transmission rates.
"The virus will soon be very active in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, which have opposing summers and winters," Gray added. "Hence, a summer slowdown in the Northern Hemisphere may be offset with a concomitant winter increase in the Southern Hemisphere."
Dr. Stefan Baral, an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, also speculates that the summer months could thwart the speed at which COVID-19 is spreading.
“As we move into warmer weather and people are more out in the open, I expect there to be a natural decrease, similar and consistent with the decrease with other upper respiratory tract infections,” Dr. Baral told the Boston Herald. “It’s more seasonal in nature. Obviously, it’s been a relatively warm winter, but as we’re outside more, we just expect less of those types of infections to take place.”
Unfortunately, they both agree that there’s still much to learn about the virus and no one can say for sure when the coronavirus will cease being an issue.
The Center for Disease Control maintains that it’s still too early to know if the warm weather will have a seasonal effect on the spread of coronavirus.
"Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months," the CDC said on its website.
"At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 [the illness caused by the coronavirus] will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing."