Although other viruses tend to become less common as the weather gets warmer, it is still unknown how warmer temperatures could affect the spread of the coronavirus.
“Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. “At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer.”
According to the CDC, “there is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.”
The World Health Organization has also stated that warmer weather won’t kill the virus.
“You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19,” according to the organization’s website. “To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.”
Jessi Shrout, an assistant professor of biology at Brenau University, said other coronaviruses have been shown to slow down as the weather warms up.
“It’s really just one of a broad class of different coronaviruses. What we know about other coronaviruses is that it’s true, they do tend to show some degree of seasonality,” Shrout said. “That means that they would be expected to transmit more readily in colder months than in the warmer months.”
But the issue scientists and medical professionals now face is new, as COVID-19 has not been seen before.
“It’s brand-new. That means that we have no innate immunity or no herd immunity, and we don’t even have a vaccine,” Shrout said. “So, that lack of immunity has allowed the virus to become this massive, worldwide pandemic over a pretty short period of time.”
Shrout said because people have not built up immunity to the novel coronavirus, it is less likely to follow previously known patterns of other viruses.
“When you put that lack of immunity with this highly transmissible virus, and considering the pandemic is not even at its peak yet, I would say no, really we’re not going to see much seasonality with this,” she said.
However, as scientists seek to learn more about the novel coronavirus, they have taken on the challenge collaboratively, Shrout said.
“We’ve seen a really amazing sense of community in the scientific community. Scientists are not always known for sharing information with each other, but I think we’ve seen that at really unprecedented levels of individuals being willing to share their findings without needing credit for any of those discoveries,” she said. “This really is a time where we have to come together as a scientific community to help each other out.”