SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is a new pathogen, but it shows certain commonalities above all with cold and flu viruses: They are respiratory infections that are passed on through direct contact with the sick or via droplet infection.
The transmission of water droplets in the air is also very likely the reason that flu waves subside in summer . Because: When sneezing and coughing, relatively large drops occur, in which viruses usually do not get very far. But not all experts are convinced of this.
However, when the air is very dry, for example in heated rooms in winter, the water evaporates very quickly. What remains are tiny droplets that can hover in the air for a long time as foci of infection. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that at a humidity of 20 percent, infectious viruses remain in the room four to five hours after coughing.
Difficult to predict, infection rate could remain high
“Because of the similar infection pathways with flu and cold viruses, the infections caused by the corona virus may also decrease in the summer,” says Luka Cicin-Sain, virologist at the Helmholz Center for Infection Research.
At the same time, seasonal flu differs from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in one important point. “The population still has no basic immunity to the new pathogen, This in turn increases the infection rate , in winter as in summer. “We have a fundamentally different scenario here than with influenza and can neither confirm nor rule out that the infections caused by the corona virus will subside in the summer months,” emphasises the virologist.
That is why it is so important to limit the spread of the pathogen as much as possible and, for example, to cancel mass events.