Could COVID come roaring back in the fall and winter — but as a less threatening flu-like seasonal virus?

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Credit: Tingshu Wang/Retuers
Credit: Tingshu Wang/Retuers

As with influenza and the coronaviruses that cause common colds, there appears to be a seasonal element to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2. Which means that, as the days shorten and temperatures cool in a few months, there’s a good chance that case numbers will start rising again.

The well-known Covid-19 forecasting model maintained by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which took a lot of deserved flak for its methods and errors early in the pandemic but since September [2020] has proved a pretty reliable guide to the disease’s medium-term U.S. trajectory, also incorporates seasonality.

It foresees continued declines in U.S. daily Covid infections until mid-July, followed by a doubling up to Sept. 1, the current forecast end date.

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I do worry that, by not talking more about the disease’s seasonality, public health officials risk stumbling into a situation in which late-summer and early-fall school, office and entertainment re-openings are followed by a rise in cases that makes it seem like everything is spiraling out of control again. Far better to signal now that we may have to retrench somewhat come fall.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Facebook and fake news — How the social media giant has emerged as the perfect platform for vaccine misinformation

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