The novel coronavirus may one day become a seasonal virus like the flu — but that day won’t come until herd immunity is achieved, according to the findings of a recent review published in Frontiers in Public Health.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection, will likely become seasonal “in countries with temperate climates” following herd immunity, according to a press release on the study’s findings.
But until then, study authors said the novel virus will “continue to circulate across the seasons.”"COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved.
There are at least four pre-existing coronaviruses that are seasonal — but why exactly they are remain somewhat shrouded in mystery.
There is an ongoing debate within the scientific community about why some respiratory viruses are seasonal.
CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN“People's susceptibility to infections and human behaviors, such as indoor crowding, differ across the seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity.
These factors influence [the] transmission of respiratory viruses at different times of the year,” the study authors added.
But, once herd immunity is attained through natural infections and vaccinations, the R0 should drop substantially, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal factors,” the researchers concluded, per the release.
The researchers’ findings echo one expert’s comments who told Fox News in June why the warm summer months were unlikely to kill off the virus.
"This remains a novel virus and despite the fast-growing body of science about it, there are still things that are unknown.
But we think it's highly likely, given what we know so far, COVID-19 will eventually become seasonal, like other coronaviruses," Zaraket said in the study release.
In the meantime, the study authors urged for “rigorous control measures to limit virus spread” until herd immunity is attained.