Could COVID-19 Spread More in the Winter Season?

Winter is just around the corner for the Northern Hemisphere and with it come the speculations of how the pandemic might take a turn. Since most respiratory diseases including cold and flu spread quickly in winters, some experts have indicated that COVID-19 cases may also increase with a drop in temperature and humidity.
In fact, several studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, may survive longer and hence will be able to spread more in colder climates.

However, scientists have not yet reached a consensus about the association between changes in weather and transmission of COVID-19.

Controversial evidence

A study conducted by Harvard University early this year suggested that there was no link between changing temperature and COVID-19 transmission. The World Health Organisation had said that the infection can spread at any temperature. A study done in China indicated that SARS-CoV-2 may spread quickly in summers when the temperature is around 19 degree Celsius and the relative humidity is at about 75%.

A systematic review published in the journal PLOS One indicated that warm and wet climates are not conducive to the spread of COVID-19 and that the virus would spread better in cold and drier climates. But the authors suggested that temperature and humidity are not the only variables that determine the transmission of the disease.

A study conducted in India also found that more cases of COVID-19 are seen in areas at a relatively higher altitude and colder temperatures. Several other studies have also supported the association between cold temperature and the spread of the coronavirus disease.

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