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Current Affairs

Coronavirus behaviour in winter

Date: 10 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

After surviving the summer and the monsoon, there are many questions regarding behaviour of novel coronavirus in winter.

 

Background

World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that there is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the coronavirus.

 

Details

  • Experts agree that most of the evidence for seasonal viruses indicate they are more active during the cooler months of the year.

  • For instance, in many parts of the world, there is a winter seasonality for influenza, and in India and regions of similar climate, there is a monsoon peak and a smaller winter peak. 

  • Viral illnesses, especially respiratory, are supposed to thrive in colder temperatures worldwide, the obvious example being the flu virus that causes the most deaths in winters.

  • It has been postulated that coronavirus infections would be more prevalent during winter in the temperate geographies of the world. 

  • In western countries, winters can be severe and people tend to stay indoors. Hence the reasoning goes that the virus, once introduced, can circulate among people sharing the same premises.

  • Since influenza is a winter illness, the southern hemisphere should have seen a spike in cases during their May-July winter, but that did not happen this year.

  • There have been limited lockdowns with phase-wise opening up in the last few months, which is likely to push transmission up in winter.