The future of the coronavirus pandemic is still murky. No one knows outright what’s going to happen. But the latest theory from medical experts suggests COVID-19 will become seasonal with waves and surges at various times of the year.
What’s happening: Medical experts explained to BuzzFeed News that the virus could adopt “opposite seasonality,” where the virus starts to spread as more people spend time indoors.
- For example, Florida has seen high COVID-19 numbers in the summer because people flee indoors at that time.
- The Northeast, meanwhile, has seen cases rise in the winter when snowfall and cold temperatures keep people inside.
Yes, but: This is what happens with other coronaviruses. But the novel coronavirus might not follow the same pattern.
- Just look at the omicron variant, which led to a massive surge of cases nationwide this past winter — regardless of weather patterns.
What they’re saying: “Maybe the common coronas were like this at the beginning, too, when no one was looking, and lacked the capability to look, but it’s hard to know if it’s that or if there is something fundamentally different about SARS-CoV-2,” University of Arizona immunologist Deepta Bhattacharya told BuzzFeed News.
What to watch: All of this talk about seasonal COVID-19 has to consider new emerging COVID-19 variants, too. New variants are surging throughout the world right now, and it is unclear how strong some of these variants could become.
- For example, omicron variant subvariants BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 have led to a rise in COVID-19 cases in New York, according to the New York State Department of Public Health.
- Similarly, the World Health Organization said that it plans to investigate new omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
The bottom line: Experts are unsure what the future of the coronavirus pandemic looks like. But with emerging variants, it doesn’t seem like cases will drop away completely anytime soon.