By Laura Taylor • 19 July 2020 • 19:43
credit: Javea town hall
During the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the hopes was that with the arrival of summer and high temperatures, the coronavirus would weaken, and the crisis would slow down. But not only has this not been the case but in many parts of the world, a true second wave is already being experienced. So the question still stands, why hasn’t summer slowed down the virus-like expected?
The coronavirus was expected to weaken because many respiratory diseases are seasonal, for example, the flu. More scientifically, the virus is covered by an external layer of fat, the lipid membrane, which typically breaks down itself when higher temperatures are reached. There are many other factors, such as the strength of UV rays’ in killing viruses, however, it does not seem as if the summer season has unhinged on the powerful nature of the virus. The lack of high temperatures in Spain is definitely not an issue as this summer abnormally high temperatures have been recorded.
“The population’s lack of immunity ends up being a key factor which drives the spread of new viruses like SARS-CoV-2. This factor overcomes any influence of the weather. When everyone is susceptible to contracting a new virus, it can spread greatly, regardless of the weather condition”, Rachel Baker, a Princeton University researcher and author of a study on the seasonality of Covid-19.
Baker believes that “in a few years, as the population experiences an increase in immunity, the coronavirus will be able to become a seasonal disease, like the flu”. Another fact why summer has not ended the virus is the so-called paradoxical effect of summer: high temperatures in very hot places make people stay indoors or indoors with air conditioning, without ventilation, this environment makes the drops of viruses stay longer.
In general, the reopening of bars, relaxation in physical distancing measures and the opening of borders can be more powerful factors which increase transmission than high temperatures in the summer. “As long as there are people clustering indoors, without social distancing measures, we should expect this virus to spread easily,” says Rachel Baker.
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Laura Taylor is a graduate from the University of Leeds. At university, she obtained a Bachelors in Communication and Media, as well as a Masters in International Relations. She is half British and half Spanish and resides in Malaga. Her focus when writing news typically encompasses national Spanish news and local news from the Costa del Sol.
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