CHICAGO (CBS)– Spring is here. Temperatures are getting warmer. Rain showers are increasing.
Will this have any effect on the spread of the coronavirus? CBS 2 meteorologist Ed Curran says the answer is…maybe.
It’s believed coronaviruses are seasonal. Their transmission is less efficient in warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels.
There’s research now that seems to indicate the COVID-19 coronavirus may also not spread as well in a warm, humid environment.
In fact, researchers at the University of Maryland believe weather forecasts may help predict where the virus will spread.mStudy leader Mohammad Sajadi, physician-scientist at the university’s Institute of Human Virology says, “Based on what we have documented so far, it appears that the virus has a harder time spreading between people in warmer, tropical climates.”
Researchers found that all the cities with major COVID-19 outbreaks have similar winter climates. Temperatures between 41 degrees and 52 degrees and average humidity between 47 and 79 percent. The cities are all located within a band of 30 to 50 N Degrees latitude.
Chicago sits at 42 N Degrees. Places like Wuhan, Japan, South Korea, Seattle and northern Italy all fall within this zone.
By looking at climate trends and weather forecasts they believe the next area to be watched is slightly to the north of the current east-west latitudinal band.
Does this mean we’re in the clear as the weather gets warmer? Not at all.
Is COVID-19 a seasonal virus? That’s not been determined.
But, if scientists can predict where the virus will spread based on weather trends, the focus can be on those geographic areas for preparation, surveillance, and containment efforts.
To be clear, the COVID-19 coronavirus will not just go away as the weather gets warmer. The number one way to battle this new virus and save lives is through social distancing and good hygiene. Wash your hands!