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Will summer slow spread of COVID-19?


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Harnessing the fast moving COVID-19 is challenging for researchers who are trying to connect the data as the deadly respiratory virus pushes forward.

“We study a lot of different respiratory viruses and many of them tend to be seasonal,” says Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, with Yale Medicine.

Dr. Iwasaki studies the body’s immune response to viral infections. 

“The winter is when we see an outbreak with the common cold version of the coronavirus so it is possible that in the future, COVID-19 might become a seasonal virus just like the other coronaviruses.”

Related: Dr. Fauci anticipates coronavirus outbreak in the fall, virus could become seasonal

The immunologist says it is too early to tell if that will happen.  However, with growing evidence that the virus is airborne, there could be a slowdown when the weather heats up.   

“That is based on the fact that the summer months raises temperatures and when the temperature outside becomes hotter, then the water vapor that is in the air also becomes higher.”

Basically, higher humidity weakens the virus. But because we spend most of our time indoors, there is still a chance of catching it.   

“We still have direct transmission, as well as fomite transmission, which is when you touch a contaminated surface and then you touch your face.”

Washing hands and disinfecting high touch areas will lower the risk. 

What to do when colder temperatures arrive?

“Once we hit the fall or the winter, this coming winter, we really need to be thinking about humidifying the indoors because that’s where transmission happens.”   

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