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Weather’s role in the COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 is making big news across the country as lockdowns and precautions continue to pile on to keep ahead of the outbreak. Many have speculated that this virus will just die out in the summer, once the weather gets warmer.

While that may be true for some viruses, it's not true for all of them.

COVID-19 is actually a part of a family of coronaviruses. All have slightly different makeups that make them respond to certain conditions differently.

Could this summer slow the progression of COVID-19...? Perhaps, but we'll dig deeper into that below.

First, it's important to know why illness spreads so much quicker in the winter. When it's cold, we usually tend to stay inside more, huddled just a bit closer together. That close proximity can increase the potential of infection occurring, which can lead to a higher rate of infection. The weather itself can also play a role.

Cold air is DRIER. Even when it rains, the air at 35º will almost always be holding less water vapor than rain at a higher temperature. Drier air is easier for viruses to move around in which can lead to a higher likelihood of catching a disease.

For many viruses, sunlight, heat, and humidity tend to dramatically slow their progression.

But this is not the case for ALL viruses-- in particular the family of coronaviruses. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which is caused by a type of coronavirus seems to thrive in warmer conditions.

So... does that mean COVID-19 will ACTUALLY fade away this summer?...

Experts warn even IF the virus is slowed over the summer, it's not a free pass to let your guard down. It's important to remember that we are STILL learning about how this virus behaves and there's no guarantee, as of this moment, that we're going to see infection rates drop as temperatures rise.

They also say that once we turn the corner into next fall and winter, we could see the virus re-emerge. As of now, vaccines for this virus aren't expected for at least another year.

Another thing we have to note is that even though we'll see a leap to summer and warmer temperatures in the northern hemisphere, our friends south of the equator are headed into the winter season. Infection rates are expected to see an increase in that part of the world in the coming months.

The bottom line: there's no guarantee that summer will make this any easier. For now, continue checking with the latest news sources, CDC reports and of course, keep washing your hands!

You can read more about the seasonality of COVID-19 in the article below.


Article Topic Follows: Weather
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Luke Victor

Luke Victor gives forecasts on ABC 17 News broadcasts and reports on weather stories on air and online, giving viewers and readers a deeper look at what causes different types of weather.


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