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Coronavirus risks becoming ‘winter disease’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Coronavirus is likely to evolve into a “seasonal disease” with a higher risk in winter, Australian researchers say.

Coronavirus is likely to evolve into a "seasonal disease" with a higher risk in winter, Australian researchers say.

A University of Sydney study conducted during the early stages of the pandemic found a link between lower humidity and an increase in locally acquired infections.

The research is the first peer-reviewed study of a relationship between climate and COVID-19 in the southern hemisphere.

It revealed a 1 per cent decrease in humidity could increase the number of COVID-19 cases by 6 per cent.

"COVID-19 is likely to be a seasonal disease that recurs in periods of lower humidity. We need to be thinking if it's winter time, it could be COVID-19 time," Michael Ward, an epidemiologist in the Sydney School of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney, said.

The pandemic developed in China, Europe and North America during those regions' winter months from January to March - the southern hemisphere's late summer and early autumn.

"When it comes to climate, we found that lower humidity is the main driver here, rather than colder temperatures. It means we may see an increased risk in winter here, when we have a drop in humidity, " Prof. Ward said.

"But in the northern hemisphere, in areas with lower humidity or during periods when humidity drops, there might be a risk even during the summer months. So vigilance must be maintained."

The study is published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases and is the first peer-reviewed study of a relationship between climate and COVID-19 in the southern hemisphere.

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- Reported with AAP

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-university-of-sydney-study-finds-covid19-risks-becoming-seasonal-winter-disease/6e854482-00da-4382-b97f-4822d2c1edac

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