Top US health official says coronavirus may be seasonal, not just one-time occurrence

Top US health official says coronavirus may be seasonal, not just one-time occurrence

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assessment further underscores the need for an effective coronavirus vaccine.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

The coronavirus may not be just a one-time occurrence, but rather a seasonal virus, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“Would this possibly become a seasonal cyclic thing?” Fauci was asked by reporters during a Wednesday White House press briefing.

“I’ve always indicated to you that I think it very well might,” he said.

According to Fauci, the coronavirus seems to emerge during the colder months.

“What we’re starting to see in the Southern Hemisphere of Southern Africa and the Southern Hemisphere countries, is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season,” Fauci said.

“If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we’ll get a cycle a second time,” he added.

Many researchers believe the coronavirus, much like other viruses, is more prevalent during the fall and winter months because respiratory droplets remain airborne for longer in colder weather.

Explanations vary as to why the immune system is weaker during the winter months, but it is clear that a weak immune system is more vulnerable to respiratory diseases.

“Whether it comes back again is a moot question,” said Simon Clarke, an expert in cellular microbiology at Britain’s University of Reading, as quoted by Reuters.

“It would not surprise me if it largely disappeared in summer only to reappear again in the winter. It’s unlikely to make things worse, but we don’t know for sure – it’s an educated guess,” he said.

A comprehensive study published by medRxiv, a free online archive for complete but unpublished research papers, said coronavirus will not necessarily lead to declines in case counts during the cold seasons without the “implementation of extensive public health interventions.”

Regardless, Fauci’s assessment further underscores the need for an effective vaccine to be developed.

AFP reported that both the U.S. and China have already developed vaccines that entered human trials. A successful vaccine could take a year to be available to the public.

Certain reports suggest that an Israeli-made vaccine could be ready within months.