Experts agree that we will live with Covid-19, in addition to other influenza syndromes. The tendency is for the disease to become endemic, that is, to occur regularly and reach some peak periods. Doctors call this seasonality.
In an effort to determine the seasonality of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes the disease – researchers from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte analyzed the behavior of similar viruses. The study has been published previously mBio.
- To predict the seasonality of SARS-CoV-2, scientists used historical data from different coronaviruses with known seasonal patterns.
- Monthly data on infection with different coronaviruses was analyzed in previous studies in Europe, East Asia, and North America. Viral samples date back to 1985 and 2020.
- The discovery was that SARS-CoV-2 tends to increase in the cold months, especially in temperate locations in the Northern Hemisphere, and decrease in the summer. This period may change depending on the region.
- According to forecasts, in Rochester, Minnesota, the infection rate will reach its peak in December, and will remain this way until the end of spring.
- In Edinburgh, United Kingdom, the increase begins gradually in the fall and decreases in mid-spring.
- The forecast only applies when the coronavirus becomes endemic, something experts are still unsure when that will happen.
The importance of knowing the seasonality of the disease
Knowing when illness will occur most often helps hospitals prepare to care for a large number of patients. In this way, it is possible to prevent health systems from being overburdened. Jeffrey Townsend, first author of the study, explained to the portal Medical Express The forecasts are important for the health sector and indicate the periods that need attention:
Having an idea of when we will see a peak in the future is important for public health policy and decision-making. Late fall, winter, and early spring are the most dangerous periods for an outbreak.
Jeffrey Townsend for Medical Express