As we enter the hot summer months in the U.S., the common thought is we see a reduction of flu-like cases due to a variety of social and environmental changes the heat of summer brings. Will we see this same reduction with COVID-19 cases during summer in the U.S.? Early research is showing that might not necessarily be the case.
Other strains of coronaviruses like the one that causes COVID-19 do not show similar seasonality like the influenza virus. Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV did not show decreases in the summer months during their initial outbreaks.
While COVID-19 erupted while the U.S. and the rest of the northern hemisphere were in winter months, the southern hemisphere saw a large amount of COVID-19 cases despite the increased temperatures. Countries that are warm year-round like Iran also saw widespread infections by the disease.
Just because the weather may be warm, it doesn’t mean the threat of COVID-19 is lessened. While more research is needed on how high heat and humidity affects SARS-Cov-2, the new habits we’ve taken on during the winter and spring of handwashing and social distancing will most likely need to continue through the summer and throughout the year.