COVID-19 And The Deadly Cold Months

covid-19 and the deadly cold months

Covid-19 and the deadly cold months explain why COVID-19 is fatal during the cold season, and how you can fight another wave of the pandemic.

Stay Safe COVID-19 Still Out There!

As reiterated in another post, stay safe COVID-19 still out there! Also, health experts are warning the infection is likely to worsen in the pending cold wintry months. Hence, the advice for countries going to be affected by this seasonal factor is to prepare. Particularly since there won’t be a vaccine before the winter season.  Therefore this is the time to abandon the easygoing attitude to COVID-19.

Why COVID-19 Is Deadly In Colder Months

covid-19 and the deadly cold months

There are two reasons why COVID-19 is deadly in colder months. Firstly, COVID-19 survives longer in dry air and cold climate. Also, humidity is a favourable condition for the spread of the disease since it leads to the making of aerosols. Secondly, crucial to the spread of respiratory illnesses is the little exposure to sunlight. Little access to sunlight reduces the vitamin D levels in the body which weakens the immune system more.

How To Prepare For COVID-19 And The Deadly Cold Months

Before listing preparations to make, there’s a need to recap how coronavirus is transmitted.

The latest understanding of coronavirus transmission is that tiny particles carrying the virus can remain airborne for hours.  This means they can accumulate in a room until someone breathes them in. For that reason, it’s no longer about resisting standing too close to an infected unmasked person indoors. The fact is people can be infected by someone who’s standing 20 or more feet away. And even if they’re wearing a mask. Or even if the infected person has left the room. The reason is that the virus can travel farther and linger for a longer period of time.

Boost Air Circulation Through Air Purifiers

Experts say a better way to lower the risk of indoor transmission is to boost air circulation. This can disperse virus-contaminated air from an infected person and reduce the buildup of virus in a room. As such air purifiers with proper filters may provide some indoor protection.

That being said, not all air circulation devices are effective.  For instance, some fans or air conditioners can drive contaminated air toward people who are then infected. Besides, the coronavirus can easily survive the ride through the heating and air-conditioning systems found in most homes.

Nonetheless, the risk of COVID-19 spread can be reduced by using air filters where they’re available, or finding ways to bring in more outside air. Or simply not spending time in confined spaces with infected people. This means people outside your household.

Maintain COVID-19 Precautions

covid-19 and deadly cold months

There’s little insight into the likely effectiveness of the flu vaccine this year compared with other years. However, the good news is that the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere (May through September) was nearly absent in many countries.   This is because the same precautions that work to prevent COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, are also effective against the flu. 

Take Flu Shots

It’s still equally crucial to take flu shots to brace yourself against respiratory symptoms during the winter season. And combine this action with the COVID-19 health guidelines of wearing a mask and social distancing, amongst others.

Bring In More Air From Outside

Homes vary quite a bit in the amount of air that comes into them. And without larger air exchanges, the level of virus concentration is likely to increase every minute.  Therefore, the simplest solution is to open windows. But, in cold weather, this may not be practical. Also in many office and school buildings, this is impossible.

On the other hand, the explanation that air must be circulated and properly filtered may not offer much protection from the airborne transmission. Airborne transmission is the ejection of droplets from someone who coughs, sneezes, or talks loudly. Those droplets can shoot directly at anyone within several feet. This is why masks and social distancing remain important.

The Bottom Line

covid-19 and deadly cold months

Eventually, the efforts to limit deadly coronavirus surge during the cold months will be to ramp up COVID-19 tests, adhere rigorously to social distancing norms, and practice strictly respiratory and hand hygiene measures. Most importantly, don’t go out without wearing face covers or masks, especially if you’re going to be in a closed space with poor ventilation. But given how many people are disobeying health guidelines in many countries, COVID-19 and the deadly cold months may be inevitable.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/10/08/1009650/winter-will-make-the-pandemic-worse/

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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