Health

Can Colder Weather Increase Coronavirus Transmission?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The number of new cases of coronavirus infection is rising rapidly in all areas around the globe. Infectious disease experts have stated that most countries are now experiencing either a second or third wave but they are unsure of why the infections have only started increasing now instead of months ago.

During warmers months of summer, the majority of the countries had lifted their lockdowns and eased coronavirus restrictions to a significant extent. Although there were outbreaks initially, they were controlled in a few weeks because they were smaller in comparison.

The efforts to control virus transmission hence proved successful especially in Europe where the daily average went down to a very low number eventually. However, even European countries such as Spain are now facing difficulties in managing new infections and controlling the spread of the virus.

Italy has also reported a growing number of cases and has announced that not only will a mask be required in indoor public spaces but outdoor ones as well in order to bring down the transmission levels.

The US, among all others, has the highest number of infections currently along with an increased mortality rate. Even though the country is having similar issues for months, it is expected to worsen further with counties in various states reporting an increase of one hundred and sixty percent in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

In addition, hospitals and healthcare facility centers are rapidly running out of space in coronavirus wards and in the intensive care units.

More incoming patients would be that there is a need for higher quarantine centers especially now that flu season is about to start and hospitals will be dealing with not only coronavirus but influenza patients as well.

Read also: Coronavirus Antibodies Can Disappear Within Weeks 

Although experts had predicted another wave of coronavirus in almost all countries, the reason for outbreaks after the start of fall is unclear. Colder weather and winters have always been associated with influenza but can they increase coronavirus transmission rates as well?

According to current evidence, there can be multiple factors in explaining why outbreaks have started after the start of fall rather than in summer when most countries had reopened schools, offices, entertainment centers, and other businesses completely along with removing restrictions on traveling.

One of the biggest contributors to the spread of coronavirus in fall and winter can be staying indoors. Due to the cold weather, many prefer to meet friends and family or hold gatherings in indoor spaces rather than outdoor ones.

Secondly, people also use public transport such as trains, subway, and buses instead of low temperatures in order to protect themselves from the cold. In both indoor spaces and crowded transport, it is easy to catch the coronavirus.

Thirdly, because staying inside is preferred, people spend less time in the sun and, in turn, have decreased levels of Vitamin D, which is a nutrient that is not only needed for strong immunity. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of developing a severe form of coronavirus infection by a number of studies.

Therefore, it can be said that the changes brought in lifestyles due to colder weather can increase the risk of coronavirus infection instead of the weather itself.

 

About the author

Abeera I. Kazmi

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