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COVID will likely become seasonal, but not yet, say scientists

Once herd immunity is attained, the novel coronavirus may follow suit and become a seasonal virus in countries with temperate climates, but until that time, COVID-19 will continue to spread across the seasons, a new study says.

According to the review research, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, when a significant section of the population becomes immune to the novel coronavirus and achieves herd immunity, the effective transmission of the virus may drop substantially making it more prone to seasonal fluctuations.

“COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved,” warned study senior author Hassan Zaraket from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

“Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it, and continue practising the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoidance of gatherings,” Mr. Zaraket added.

According to the scientists, there could be multiple waves of COVID-19 before herd immunity is achieved.

Citing earlier research, they said other respiratory viruses similar to the novel coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions.

They said influenza and several types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions. – PTI

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