More than a year after the onset of the disease in China, unknowns remain as to its transmission. Also, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, set up a Task Force, bringing together 16 specialists, to study the influence of meteorological and air quality factors on the pandemic.
Their first report estimates that the seasonality of respiratory viral illnesses – particularly the peak of the cold season for influenza and coronaviruses responsible for colds in temperate climates – has suggested that Covid “would be a highly seasonal illness if it persisted. several years”.
They also indicate that process modeling studies have shown that its transmission “could become seasonal over time, suggesting that it may be possible to rely on meteorological and air quality factors to monitor and predict “disease in the future.
In their eyes, however, it is still too early to take these factors into account, and the WMO notes that the dynamics of the transmission of the Covid last year “seems to have been regulated mainly by government interventions rather than by meteorological factors” .
“At this point, the data available does not support the use of weather and air quality factors to allow governments to relax the measures they take to reduce transmissions,” said Ben Zaitchik. , Co-chair of the Task Force and member of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
“During the first year of the pandemic, we observed waves of contamination during hot seasons and in hot regions. There is no evidence that this could not happen again in the coming year,” he said. he added in a statement.
And, adds the WMO, while laboratory studies have found some evidence that the virus survives longer in cold, dry conditions and with weak ultraviolet radiation, they have yet to indicate whether weather factors have a bearing. significant influence on transmission rates under real conditions.
Furthermore, according to the Task Force, there is still no conclusive evidence of the influence of factors related to air quality. Even though preliminary data show that poor air quality raises death rates, it has not been proven, experts say, that pollution has a direct impact on airborne transmission of SARS. CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid.