The research team found that because of the lack of immunity to the virus, it will likely continue to spread rapidly through the summer and into the fall.
“Those earlier studies focused on well-known human infectious diseases. Less clear is how seasonal variations in the weather might modulate the spread of a new virus that the vast majority of people and their immune systems have yet to encounter,” he said.
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Collins notes that in the long term, as immunity develops, the coronavirus will likely fall into a more predictable seasonal pattern that is more common among other coronaviruses.
He wrote that before that can happen. NIH is working with its partners and researchers to “make sure that safe, effective treatments and vaccines will be available to help prevent the tragic, heavy loss of life that we’re seeing now.”
Collins also said that maintaining physical distance and wearing masks remain the best way to slow the spread into the summer.
“Of course, climate is just one key factor to consider in evaluating the course of this disease,” he wrote. “And, there is a glimmer of hope in one of the group’s models. The researchers incorporated the effects of control measures, such as physical distancing, with climate. It appears from this model that such measures, in combination with warm temperatures, actually might combine well to help slow the spread of this devastating virus.”