Winter is just around the corner, and researchers give us a lot of warnings about a possible new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, which could be worse than the other ones.
David Relman, microbiologist at Stanford University in California, stated: “This virus is going to have a heyday. We are looking at some pretty sobering and difficult months ahead.”
Many respiratory viruses, which include some coronaviruses as well, usually “aim” high in winter and go down in summer. However, right now, it’s very early to know if the pandemic will become a seasonal virus, as well. Evidence shows that we’ll have to deal with another outbreak in the winter – based on how the virus spreads and how people behave.
In winter, people usually interact more often indoors, and the ventilation is poor – this can show an increase in the risk of transmission. But the problem will still be the people who are still vulnerable to the infection. “By far, the biggest factor that will affect the size of an outbreak will be control measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing,” said one of the researchers.
According to laboratory experiments, COVID-19 survives in the cold, out of direct sunlight, and in dry conditions. It has also been found that artificial ultraviolet radiation can inactivate virus particles on surfaces, especially when there are temperatures of about 40 °C.
The virus can also degrade quicker on surfaces that are warmer and in humid environments. When it’s winter, people usually hear their houses at 21 °C, and the air is not well ventilated. “Indoor conditions in the winter are pretty favourable to viral stability,” says Dylan Morris from Princeton.