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News > U.S.

The New Coronavirus Does Not Depend on Seasons, WHO Recalls

  • A homeless person sleeps on the street, Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 28, 2020.

    A homeless person sleeps on the street, Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 28, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 July 2020
Opinion

Unlike the flu virus, the SARS-CoV-2 can survive in various weather conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is not activated with the winter's cold as seasonal flu or deactivated with heat.

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As evidenced by the high temperatures in the United States and Brazil, six months of the COVID-19 pandemic show that "the season does not affect the transmission of this virus."

What does influence its transmission are large gatherings, disrespect for social distance, and the absence of complementary precautions.

"There seems to be a fixed idea that the virus is seasonal, but there are a lot of infected persons in the U.S. in the summer, or in Brazil, the Philippines and other equatorial countries with high temperatures," the WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.

She insisted that this new coronavirus behaves differently than other viruses causing respiratory conditions which are usually seasonal and their ability to transmit from one person to another is intensified in cold conditions.

In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 does not proceed in the same way as "it likes all climates and jumps from one person to another simply when they are around."

The epicenter of the pandemic is in South America, a region which is in the dead of winter. This creates the possibility that the new coronavirus and the influenza virus can circulate at the same time, which could lead to confusion.

In this regard, Harris noted that the WHO is attentive to the situation in the southern hemisphere and to the results of influenza and COVID-19 tests that are being carried out.

"At the moment, while we are seeing high levels of COVID, we are not seeing high levels of influenza. So in the southern hemisphere, we expect a backward flu season," she explained.

The spokesperson acknowledged that it would be worrying to have a high prevalence of influenza and COVID-19 simultaneously because this would put tremendous pressure on health systems.

"This is why we recommend that everyone be vaccinated against the flu, to at least limit exposure to that virus," Harris said.

On Friday, the WHO scientific area director Soumya Swaminathan stated that three vaccines are in the clinical trial phase. This means that they will be tested with thousands of people to establish their level of safety and effectiveness. The results will be known in six months.

The U.S. epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, however, said the results of the vaccine developed by Moderna company could be ready before the November elections.

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