One of the questions that is still unanswered with regard to COVID-19 is whether or not it will ease up in the summer as weather turns warmer. Some coronaviruses become less dominant in summer months and the hope has been that this novel coronavirus would follow that pattern.

But a new study from the EU’s equivalent to the Center for Disease Control says that is not likely:

The four coronaviruses that are endemic in human populations are responsible for 10–15% of common cold infections and display a marked winter seasonality in temperate climates, with a peak between December and April, but are hardly detected in the summer months. The seasonality of coronaviruses might be driven, in part, by environmental conditions and host susceptibility, because coronaviruses are more stable under low and midrange relative humidity (20–50%) when the defense mechanisms of the airways are suppressed.

However, based on preliminary analyses of the COVID-19 outbreak in China and other countries, high reproductive numbers were observed not only in dry and cold districts but also in tropical districts with high absolute humidity, such as in Guangxi and Singapore. There is no evidence to date that SARS-CoV-2 will display a marked winter seasonality, such as other human coronaviruses in the northern hemisphere, which emphasizes the importance of implementing intervention measures such as isolation of infected individuals, workplace distancing, and school closures.

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Posted by Jake Meador

Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy and author of "In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World." He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy, and sons Wendell, Austin, and Ambrose. Jake's writing has appeared in Commonweal, Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play.