Is the coronavirus spreading faster in autumn? This is what the forecast looks like

Why is the reported number of COVID-19 cases increasing across Europe now due to the spread of the coronavirus? Many countries ended their full lockdown at the beginning of summer, but it wasn’t until the fall that it began to pick up again significantly in most places. So the reopening of schools and universities led to a greater mix of people from different households. But the drop in outside temperatures could also play a decisive role?

What about the spread of the coronavirus currently?

red autumn leaf next to a protective mask against the spread of the coronavirus in autumn

We know that more people get colds and flu in winter. However, colds can also be caused by types of coronavirus and there are several possible reasons for this. It is often attributed to people spending more time indoors when it is colder. This causes them to cough, sneeze, and generally breathe at each other. In addition, when the weather is cold and wet, many are more likely to opt for boarding a crowded bus or train. Instead, employees can walk or cycle to work. Another theory is that people produce less vitamin D when there is less sunlight. This leads to a weakened immune system.

wear a mask to prevent warm weather and coronavirus transmission

However, studies have shown that such an annual increase in colds and flu occurs especially when the outside temperature and the relative humidity inside are lower. Influenza viruses survive and are more easily transmitted in cold, dry air. So it is reasonable to think that the same values ​​can be true for SARS-CoV-2, which is of similar size and structure. Laboratory experiments with coronaviruses and similar viruses have shown that they do not survive as well on surfaces at high temperatures and relative humidity. However, a comfortable room temperature could be the ideal environment for several days. At cooling temperatures of 4 ° C and low relative humidity, however, coronaviruses can withstand for a month or more.

Previous pandemics

Tracking worldwide statistical data transmission of coronavirus on a hospital computer

The lessons from the other coronaviruses that emerged in the 21st century (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) also tell a slightly different story. A study that tracked the weather during the 2003 SARS epidemic in China suggested that the peak of infections occurred during spring-like weather conditions. Early data from Australia suggested that low humidity was a major factor in the risk of COVID-19 spikes than temperature. However, there was a major outbreak in Melbourne in July that coincided with cold weather. This resulted in a strict lockdown, but it wasn’t fully relaxed until October.

snowman with mouth guard on during covid 19 pandemic

So overall, it seems like a good idea to be prepared for more COVID-19 cases in the colder months. However, people have certainly learned from SARS-CoV-2 that new viruses can surprise. They also know that close contact with others allows the virus to spread in any weather. Therefore, in society, a physical distance between people who do not live in the same household should be kept. If possible, face covering should continue to be worn in closed rooms. Unfortunately, we will only find out exactly how weather changes will affect the pandemic once we have lived through these times.