According to a new review published in Frontiers in Public Health, Coronavirus Pandemic is likely to develop a seasonal pattern in countries of temperate climates after the population of that country achieves herd immunity.
The review suggests that like other respiratory viruses, coronavirus may exhibit the same pattern, of becoming seasonal in countries with temperate climates after herd immunity is achieved.
According to an official release, “Until that time, Covid-19 will continue to circulate across the seasons. These conclusions highlight the absolute importance of public health measures needed just now to control the virus.”
Senior author, Dr Hassan Zaraket said, “COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved. Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it and continue practising the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoidance of gatherings.”
Co-author of the study, Dr Hadi Yassine commented that multiple waves of the infection can emerge.
In the study, researchers analysed the factors (that are influenced by seasons) such as survivability of virus in the air and on surfaces, the vulnerability of humans to infections and individual human behaviours like indoor crowding. These factors change according to the temperature and humidity due to which rate of virus spread differs at different times of the year.
The rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus is however more than that of other respiratory viruses such as the flu. The reason behind this is the spread of the virus largely in the population with weak immunity. This suggests that the above-mentioned factors cannot stop virus transmission in the summer months. Once a population attains herd immunity through natural infections and vaccinations, the rate of infection is likely to significantly go down and the virus may follow seasonal patterns.
According to the release, “Such seasonality has been reported for other coronaviruses, including those that emerged more recently such as NL63 and HKU1, which follow the same circulation pattern like influenza.”
Zaraket said, “This remains a novel virus and despite the fast-growing body of science about it there are still things that are unknown. Whether our predictions hold true or not remains to be seen in the future. But we think it’s highly likely, given what we know so far, Covid-19 will eventually become seasonal, like other coronaviruses.”
Dr Yassine said, “The highest global Covid-19 infection rate per capita was recorded in the Gulf states, regardless of the hot summer season. Although this is majorly attributed to the rapid virus spread in closed communities, it affirms the need for rigorous control measures to limit virus spread, until herd immunity is achieved”.