A new study indicates the spread of the coronavirus may be impacted by weather.
AccuWeather experts have released a study indicating the weather may have an impact on spreading or suppressing the coronavirus.
More than 28,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed and 565 deaths have been reported as of Feb. 6. AccuWeather’s experts looked at transmission patterns of past flus and viruses such as SARS in 2003, the 1918 Spanish Flu and U.S. flu data over the last decade.
“Right now and over the next several months, because of the weak sun and the colder temperatures in the northern hemisphere, the weather may be helping to spread the virus,” AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers said. "However, based on what we’ve seen from past flus and viruses, including the SARS virus and others, there is less viral spread when the sun is strong and the temperatures are warm from May to September. It's possible the sunshine intensity, the longer daylight periods and the warmer weather could suppress the virus in the summer months."
However, Dr. Myers says officials, including the medical community, simply don't know enough about the coronavirus and it may be very different.
"We’re just learning about it. The possibility is this does not behave like all of the others and that it does not decline once the sun gets stronger and the temperatures increase throughout the spring and summer,” said Myers. “Instead, if it continues to compound through the entire spring and summer it may infect millions and become a pandemic."
Respiratory viruses typically appear more frequently in winter (cooler) months, says Dr. Andrew Pekosz, vice chair at John Hopkins. "Since we don’t know how this virus was transmitted within its natural host, it’s difficult to predict if it will have the same pattern as human respiratory coronaviruses.”
The medical community agrees about the uncertainty of this particular virus.
“It is possible that even if it is found that the sun and warmth slows it down but does not stop it, then once we go into declining sunlight again in September and October -- like we saw with the Spanish Flu in 1918 -- it could erupt in an enormous fashion because a vaccine still may not have been developed according to the experts," Dr. Myers said.