COVID-19 virus may become seasonal, hints United Nations
Covid-19 appears likely to develop into a seasonal disease, the United Nations said Thursday, cautioning though against relaxing pandemic-related measures simply based on meteorological factors.
In its first report, an expert team tasked with trying to shed light on one of those mysteries by examining potential meteorological and air quality influences on the spread of Covid-19, found some indications the disease would develop into a seasonal menace.
The Meteorological Organization pointed out that respiratory viral infections are often seasonal, “in particular the autumn-winter peak for influenza and cold-causing coronaviruses in temperate climates”.
“This has fuelled expectations that, if it persists for many years, Covid-19 will prove to be a strongly seasonal disease,” it said in a statement.
Modelling studies anticipate that transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 disease, “may become seasonal over time”.
Task team co-chair Ben Zaitchik of the earth and planetary sciences department at The John Hopkins University in the United States said that during the first year of the pandemic, infections in some places rose in warm seasons, “and there is no evidence that this couldn’t happen again in the coming year”.
But it remained unclear whether meteorological influences “have a meaningful influence on transmission rates under real world conditions”.
There was some preliminary evidence that poor air quality increases Covid-19 mortality rates, “but not that pollution directly impacts airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2”.