Spring is fast approaching, and coronavirus restrictions are being lifted all over the northern hemisphere. Are we ready to loosen up protection?
Is there hope the virus will die in summer?
With time flying unnoticed, we are already into our third summer with coronavirus being part of our lives. As of today, almost 500 million people worldwide have been in contact with SARS-CoV-2. These, of course, are only the official numbers of people tested. The number is more likely to be higher.
Whilst there has seen some decline in the contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2 in warmer summer months, it has so far only slowed but not eliminated the transmission of the unwanted virus.
Could we expect this summer to be any different?
What causes the seasonality of respiratory viruses?
To explain the seasonality of respiratory viruses in temperate regions, let us look at some more common factors that contribute to this phenomenon.
- The environment. The air during colder months is naturally drier, both indoors and out, and dry conditions have been shown to favour flu transmission.
- Human behaviour. We spend more time indoors in cold and dark winter months with poorer ventilation and less personal space than outdoors. Schools, in particular, can be hotbeds of virus transmission, as seen during the recent, more infectious waves of the coronavirus.
- Our immune system. An average person’s immune system appears to be weaker in winter. Melatonin and vitamin D levels, which depend on the photoperiod (varies seasonally) and UV light exposure (higher in summer), are believed to inflect our immune system positively, whilst we lack this in the darker periods of the year.
Although we have seen some seasonality with other respiratory viruses, coronavirus has proved different in several instances. Countries with warm or humid weather, such as Australia and Iran, have experienced rapid virus spreads despite the season.
Rapid expert consultation published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in early 2020 pointed out that neither the coronaviruses cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), nor the flu strains of previous pandemics have shown a seasonal pattern.
Instead, viruses seem to follow the same pattern of rising, level off and decline, no matter their first appearance.
New vs old viruses – how are they different in terms of spreading?
Typically, infectious disease epidemics increase exponentially, plateau, and then decrease in the same way. When a new virus emerges, and many individuals are susceptible, each case infects more than one new case. With time, as the proportion of exposed contacts declines, the epidemic peaks and finally declines.
This explains why ‘seasonal’ infections can happen ‘out-of-season’ when they are new. New viruses have a short-term but critical advantage – few or no individuals are immune to them.
“Old viruses, which have been in the population for longer, operate on a thinner margin – most individuals are immune, and they have to make do with transmitting among the few who aren’t,” writes the Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch.
According to the authors of the expert consultation mentioned above, there have been ten flu pandemics in the past 250-plus years. Two began in the northern hemisphere winter, three in the spring, two in the summer and three in the fall.
So the question is not whether the current coronavirus will die in summer but whether it has affected enough people to enter the phase of decline?
Is summer 2022 going to be COVID-free?
With more than two years of coronavirus pandemic, it is no surprise that COVID-fatigue is setting in amongst many of us.
According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the U.S, roughly 3 in 4 adults state that “tired” and “frustrated” is how the current pandemic makes them feel.
This year, a prominent scientist Dr Christopher Murray predicted half the world would have the Omicron variant of coronavirus within the next few months. “After the Omicron wave, COVID-19 will return, but the pandemic will not,” he said, fuelling the increasing optimism that the world was drawing closer to the pandemic’s endemic phase.
However, WHO warned it was dangerous to assume we were in the endgame of the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year. We are at a critical juncture,” cautioned the director-general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recommending that governments remain vigilant to possible new variants.
How can we continue to be cautious and protect ourselves?
The harsh reality seems to be that COVID-19 is not going anywhere – we need to live with it. People become infected by airborne viruses at least once a year, whether Omicron, other SARS-CoV-2 mutations or Influenza (flu).
Does it even matter which variant it is?
Indrek Neivelt, the CEO of Respiray, sees that the current pandemic has entirely changed the way we think about the value of breathing virus-free air. “I believe people will become more responsible and selective. They will consider whether it is worth visiting anyplace. When choosing a restaurant for dinner, my first criteria are now ventilation and high ceilings, not just the food,” he envisioned in a recent interview.
Breathing virus-free air is vital. Whilst many people are still wearing a mask only because of the current regulation, a growing number of people want to do their best to protect themselves. We are educating ourselves more and more on what works.
On the contrary to face masks that mainly protect others and prevent the number of virus cases from surging, Respiray’s https://respiray.com/uv-air-purifers/ protects the wearer.
How does Respiray’s UV technology protect wearers all year round?
UV light inactivates and kills most bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. The elimination is caused by their loss of ability to reproduce and multiply. UV-C light attacks their genetic code to stop this from occurring.
As was discovered more than 80 years ago, the peak of this activity is at 265 nm, precisely where newer UV-C LEDs emit their UV wavelengths.
Generally, viruses are very vulnerable to UV-C because viruses are the smallest and therefore have the biggest proportion of them exposed to light.
Thus, with Respiray, you can continue to enjoy everyday life and activities:
- Smile and breathe freely. Respiray sits comfortably on your shoulders and does not cover your mouth, nose or face, allowing you to breathe, smile and speak freely in public.
- Use the attachable face shield for extra protection. You can attach a face shield to protect against direct coughs and sneezes in higher-risk situations.
- Say goodbye to foggy glasses. With Respiray’s air purifier, you do not need to worry about your glasses becoming foggy or your vision being blocked.
- Help the environment. When the pandemic began, roughly 1.5 billion face masks ended up in our oceans. Respiray’s device is reusable and will last for years.
When society no longer requires people to wear masks in summer, Respiray can be a good alternative for those who wish to take no risks and attend in-person events outside.
Despite the season, the ultra-modern UV technology device gives extra protection and peace of mind when visiting crowded, poorly ventilated or enclosed indoor environments.