COVID-19 can eventually lead to the following seasonal illnesses: influenza, But only when the population is achieved Herd immunityThat means that a sufficient number of people can escape the constant spread, a new study suggests.
However, until then, COVID-19 is likely to spread throughout the year, and a review published in the journal on Tuesday (September 15) emphasized the importance of following public health measures to control the virus. It has been. Public health frontier..
“COVID-19 will stay here and continue to cause outbreaks all year long until herd immunity is achieved,” studied Hassan Zaraket, lead author of the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Said in a statement.. “Therefore, the public needs to learn to live with it and continue to practice the best precautions, such as wearing masks, physical distance, hand hygiene, and avoiding meetings.”
What makes the virus seasonal?
Many viruses Follow seasonal patterns — For example, in temperate regions, influenza cases peak regularly in winter and decline in the months of summer. The same is true for certain types of coronavirus that cause the common cold.
Scientists are not sure why these viruses follow seasonal patterns, but several factors are believed to play a role. For example, studies suggest that many respiratory viruses are more stable in colder, less humid environments and remain in the air longer, the authors said. Human behavior, such as gathering indoors in winter, can also promote infection.
Early studies on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, showed that virus transmission increased at low temperatures, Warm temperature drop..
However, if there is an infectious disease, a factor called “basic reproduction number” (R0, pronounced R-nought), or the average number of people infected with the virus from one infected person, is required to reduce the number of cases. is. Less than 1.
The authors state that the R0 of COVID-19 is relatively high, with many scientists estimating values of 2-3 compared to 1.3 for influenza.
High R0 of COVID-19 may be due in part to the lack of existing immunity to the disease in most populations. Therefore, as R0 increases, the authors predict that the seasonal factor that makes R0 less than 1 becomes difficult.
“Therefore, without public health intervention, SARS-CoV-2 will continue to spread during the summer, as seen in many countries around the world,” the authors write.
In contrast, as more people acquire immunity from either natural infections or vaccines, R0 “is significantly reduced, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal fluctuations, such as winter spikes and summer dips.” The authors conclude.
Originally published in Live Science.