“COVID-19 Is Here to Stay” – Scientists Predict That SARS-CoV-2 Will Become a Seasonal Virus

Seasonal Respiratory Virus

Thanks to the sniffling noses, coughs, and colds that accompany the colder months of the year, we are all too familiar with the seasonal patterns of some respiratory viruses. A new review published in Frontiers in Public Health suggests that COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will likely follow suit and become seasonal in countries with temperate climates, but only when herd immunity is attained. 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 of the study Dr. Hassan Zaraket, of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, warns that “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 practicing the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and avoidance of gatherings.”

Collaborating author Dr. Hadi Yassine, of Qatar University in Doha, affirms and states that there could be multiple waves of COVID-19 before herd immunity is achieved.

We know that many respiratory viruses follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions. For instance, influenza and several types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions. The authors reviewed these seasonal viruses, examining the viral and host factors that control their seasonality as well as the latest knowledge on the stability and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers explain that virus survival in the air and on surfaces, people’s susceptibility to infections and human behaviors, such as indoor crowding, differ across the seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity. These factors influence transmission of respiratory viruses at different times of the year.

However, in comparison to other respiratory viruses such as the flu, COVID-19 has a higher rate of transmission (R0), at least partly due to circulation in a largely immunologically naïve population.

This means that unlike the flu and other respiratory viruses, the factors governing seasonality of viruses cannot yet halt the spread of COVID-19 in the summer months. But, once herd immunity is attained through natural infections and vaccinations, the R0 should drop substantially, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal factors.

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.

“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,” adds Zaraket.

Dr. Yassine states that “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”.

Reference: “Seasonality of Respiratory Viral Infections: Will COVID-19 Follow Suit?” by Amani Audi, Malak AlIbrahim, Malak Kaddoura, Ghina Hijazi, HADI M. YASSINE and Hassan Zaraket, 15 September 2020, Frontiers in Public Health.
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.567184

2 Comments on "“COVID-19 Is Here to Stay” – Scientists Predict That SARS-CoV-2 Will Become a Seasonal Virus"

  1. Just think, had the local Chinese officials not initially tried to cover it up, they might have been able to confine it to China. That would have prevented untold trillions of dollars in economic loss throughout the world.
    Now, it will be around forever.

  2. Doctors LOVE to say, “Correllation is not Causation”…

    But here they are making that error. “Seasonal” illnesses are not seasonal because of behavior changes. People spend time indoors in the summer as well as winter…go to any open air concert and you will be squashed like sardines in the venue.. This is an insufficient explanation for observed Covid spread. If Covid can spread in the air in the summer NOW, then it is rather ignorant to say that it will suddenly become a “winter only” illness because of ANY factor. Viruses dont change behavior, this would violate fundamental physics! This is the first time I have heard this nonsense about herd immunity affording only seasonal protection – they dont say this when talking about any other disease! If herd immunity affords protection, then it protects; if it doesnt protect, then it doesnt – you cannot both claim it protects and then say it doesnt at the same time!

    Any theory needs to address all or nearly all of the observed evidence…(allowing that some things we think we observe may be in error)…and should also have predictive power for future observations not yet made (Einstein’s relativity theories were very good at this).

    Maybe Covid is just some dark magic and we need to call witch doctors in. Shaking a stick with feathers on it while chanting with drumms beating would be about as useful as these “learned men in labcoats” have been. Wait. Placebo effect would suggest the witch doctors would be MORE effective. (This is sarcasm, not an endorsement of witch doctors!)

    What is something unique to Summer, absent in winter, and which is tied to the flu, upper respiratory diseases and also Covid?

    Vitamin D…produced from sunshine in the summer!

    The fact that Covid can spread during the summer suggests that even with sunshine available, much of the population is still Vitamin D insufficient. The US was estimated to be 42% deficient, and even more people had some, but not enough Vitamin D, making them insufficient…so maybe 60% of the population was ripe to get sick from Covid when it arrived on our shores. That might be considered to be “herd susceptibility” – so many people were almost certai to get sick, it was guaranteed to rip thru the population…

    The “flu season” begins at about the time when the small amount of Vitamin D stored up in the body (from summer shunshine) has been consumed, and serum levels fall to the insufficiency or deficiency levels.

    The truth is, sometimes correlation IS evidence of causation…in this case, rising and falling levels of Vitamin D serum levels in the population is a sufficient cause/explanation of the rapid spread and fatal outcomes of Covid 19. Why elderly got it and die (they dont make Vitamin D well), why darker skinned people got it (again less Vitamin D produced in dark skin), why Scandinavian countries didnt get it as bad (they eat more Vitamin D in their food supply because they have reduced sunshine), and why the hemisphere having summer has a drop in deaths, as well as equatorial countries, compaired to temperate zones.

    COVID-19 fatalities, latitude, sunlight, and vitamin D
    Paul B. Whittemore, PhD
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319635/

    The information to see this is available, even thru Google censors, if one looks for it – it’s all those studies doctors refuse to acknowledge that are being published left and right by researchers…

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