Coronavirus, now named COVID-19, has proven particularly troublesome in Italy and South Korea. South Korea is grappling with the largest outbreak of the virus outside of China, where the virus originated, while Italy has reported 650 coronavirus cases and 21 deaths – the most in Europe. Officials have now revealed the coronavirus has been transmitted within the UK for the first time, after a person in Surrey became the 20th person in the country to contract the virus.
While the number of cases around the globe continues to rise everyday, when can we expect the outbreaks to end?
Coronavirus has been compared to other respiratory illnesses, such as flu, suggesting the virus could start to die off come the summer months.
Flu season typically falls sometime between the start of autumn and the end of spring.
But Dr Richard Dawood from Fleet Street Clinic advised Express.co.uk it’s just too hard to know at this stage when coronavirus will start to die down.
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He said: “The first case of COVID-19 was December 2019, meaning we’ve only known about this coronavirus for barely two months. It is too early to tell about seasonality.
“What we do know about coronaviruses, in general, is they tend to mimic the behaviour of flu and that means it is possible but the risk is not yet known.”
A variety of reasons have been linked to flu and cold infections plummeting in summer, but major one is that warm, humid weather can make it harder for respiratory droplets to spread viruses.
But scientists have suggested coronavirus may not be slowed down by warmer weather.
Dr Nancy Messionnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned against assuming the number of cases will slow as the weather warms.
She said: “I think it’s premature to assume that.
“We haven’t been through even a single year with this pathogen.”
Maciej F. Boni, an associate professor of biology at Penn State University, told the Los Angeles Times, while it’s possible the virus will not survive in warmer temperature, it will be encountering a “completely susceptible” population.
The majority of people haven’t been exposed to the new virus, so there’s been no chance to develop immunity.
He continued: “We’re not off the hook just because we’re getting to springtime and the warmer weather.”
For now, experts are advising people to follow a series of steps to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus.
The NHS says you should:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
You should avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.