Seasonal Recurrence Possible for COVID-19, and High Temperature will not Kill it
Researchers at Harvard University conducted research on the common cold to find clues about how the COVID-19 virus might behave.
These findings were written by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases, and were recently published in Science.
Researchers led by postdoctoral Stephen Kissler and doctoral student Christine Tedijanto used close relatives of SARS-CoV-2 to simulate its behavior in the coming months. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that causes COVID-19.
HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 viruses spread regularly
The HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 viruses spread regularly and cause a common cold. The researchers used them to build a model that examined the impact of potential seasonality, social alienation strategies, and the role of viruses in future disease.
The researchers say that these assumptions do not consider how the results will be affected if vaccines or treatments are developed-because neither method seems to appear immediately.
In each simulated scene, they found that the warm weather did not stop the spread. This is because, taking the common cold as an example, most people usually get sick and develop immunity in the spring.
Enough people with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
However, with SARS-CoV-2, enough people may still be susceptible to infection, even if the transmission is reduced in the warmer months, it can spread.
"The effect of temperature does exist," said Marc Lipsitch, one of the authors of the paper and professor of epidemiology, when talking about the seasonal decrease in cases shown in this study. It will not disappear in the summer without intervention. "
Another unknown factor about this new coronavirus is how long the immunity can be maintained after infection.
Short-term immunity like a cold lasts less than a year, and after the initial pandemic peak, it will cause annual COVID-19 outbreaks.
On the other hand, permanent immunization will eliminate the spread of the virus 5 years or more after the virus first broke out.
The researchers also studied the impact of single and multiple social alienation on maintaining the number of patients, to enable the medical system to cope.
Kissler said that the most effective intervention is a series of social alienation periods, coupled with effective detection of disease recurrence, in order to re-design measures before the case overwhelms the entire system.
The researchers said that such a situation not only caused the fewest deaths, but also made the population gradually gain immunity to the virus.
At an online meeting held at Harvard Business School on Tuesday morning, Ashish Jha, a global health professor, talked about a more pressing question: under what circumstances may the current social distance restrictions be lifted?
Business interests and public health interest
Jha, director of the Harvard Institute of Global Health, said that those who believe that the business interests and public health interests of the United States are at odds with each other are wrong. In fact, no matter what the new normal is, both sides need each other to make a smooth transition.
Jha said that it should not be seen as a non-other situation, that is, society hastily reopened to save the economy, or postponed the opening to save health.
Early reopening will trigger a new round of disease, which will not only make many people sick, but also make those who are not sick feel scared, so they stay at home and have little boost to the economy.
Instead, he believes that companies and public health experts must work together to develop, produce, and distribute testing, treatment, vaccines, and equipment to control the epidemic and restore economic security.
Jha said, "If there is a way to make the connection between public health and business closer, I think this is how we get rid of the predicament.
If it becomes us to you, we all lose. Our death toll and economy will be bad. "
Number of new cases should have fallen for 2 weeks
Jha said that before relieving social alienation, the number of new cases should have fallen for two weeks, and there should be enough testing-as many as 500,000 cases per day nationwide, three to four times the current rate.
In addition, he said, the medical system should be strengthened, and tired doctors and nurses should get a chance to breathe before taking measures that may cause the case to rise again.
Jha said that large gatherings such as baseball games still have to wait, but restaurants, bars and workplaces may open, although adjustments will be made to keep people at a safer distance. He also predicted that face-to-face courses at universities of the same size may start again in the fall.
He said that even air travel can be restored, such as automatic virus detection before flight and self-quarantine when returning.
Jha said, "We can do a lot of things to make opening a reality, but before we have the vaccine, it will not return to the" normal level.
I think it will take 12 to 18 months.