COVID-19 and Weather: Will Colder Temps Make the Virus Spread?

COVID-19 and Weather: Will Colder Temps Make the Virus Spread?

( – COVID-19 far from fizzled out with the coming of hotter months, despite our hopes and predictions. With cooler temperatures only around the corner, many people are worried about another explosion of infections. Their worries might not be so unfounded.

See How Cooler Temps Could Affect COVID-19 Spread.

Viruses and Climate

Past studies have shown how vulnerable viruses like influenza can be to hotter, more humid environments. That’s one reason colds and the flu are seasonal; they don’t do well in warmer, wetter climates. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, appears to have similar vulnerabilities.

New research has shown the novel coronavirus reacts poorly to both heat and humidity. A comparison of infection rates among 121 countries and 310 different regions showed the most temperate areas had the worst spread. Studies delving into the cause have determined SARS-CoV-2 in a room with 23% humidity would infect about 70% of the people there in an hour; in 43% humidity, that infection rate would go down to about 14%.

Sitting in the Eye of the Storm

The United States started seeing a decline in cases in May, according to WorldoMeter stats, when the death rate started dipping below 1000 people each day. Many of us believed we’d see a reprieve as soon as daily temperatures heated up — but summer came, and COVID-19 didn’t go anywhere. It’s hard to say why. It’s possible air conditioning has kept indoor climates within peak range; some evidence suggests HVAC units may even be helping the virus spread.

It’s also possible, given the percentage of people who aren’t socially distancing or wearing masks, that this is the lowest infection rate we can hope for right now. If that’s the case, then we’re currently sitting in the eye of the storm, and once the weather turns cold and dry again, our infection and death rates might skyrocket. At this point, all we can do is remain diligent and prepare while we wait and see what happens next.

Cooler temps will be here before we know it, and higher COVID-19 numbers could be right at their side. With cold and flu season on its way back as well, this winter could be a rough one. It might be best to stay prepared, just in case.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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