You probably know plenty about the coronavirus by now. Heck, we’ve all practically become experts in virology this year.
Well, my friend, this virus may be about to take us to school all over again.
We’re hitting our first full winter with coronavirus in widespread circulation. And scientists are deeply concerned that it could rewrite the book on the COVID-19 infection.
Much like the flu, the virus could CHANGE…
- how it acts
- how it spreads
- how it protects itself
While we don’t know yet what changes are in store, researchers have some predictions. They’re based on what we know so far and also how other viruses such as flu behave.
Only time will tell if any of them come to pass. But that means we’ve got a shot at keeping ONE STEP AHEAD, helping to protect ourselves and each other from this dangerous winter wave of infection.
How viruses CHANGE in winter and what it means for you
You know how the coronavirus spreads. As I said, you’re practically an expert at this point.
- Someone exhales
- It floats through the air in droplets and aerosols.
- Eventually, someone else inhales
But a new report in MedPageToday warns that winter could change the formula just enough to add a new layer of misery.
But don’t despair. There’s good news too. Knowing these three science-backed factors NOW can help us prepare to cut our coronavirus risk in the coming months. It’s kind of like having a crystal ball to gaze into our potential future.
FACTOR #1: Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity have a lot to do with why the flu spreads like wildfire in the winter. And according to the MedPageToday report, early signs are that it might be the same for the coronavirus.
You see, like influenza, this virus seems to survive longer in colder, drier air. Meanwhile, low-humidity can break larger droplets into smaller aerosols that can linger for longer.
What you can do: You may have eased up on your restrictions this summer. But it’s time to be more cautious again. Avoid going to indoor public spaces whenever possible, and don’t invite people into your home. Always wear a mask when you leave the house. And switch to ordering groceries to be delivered and prescriptions by mail if you can. Or enlist the help of volunteers to do your shopping and run errands for you.
FACTOR #2: The FATTY envelope
Bugs like the coronavirus have a fatty envelope. Gross, right? But that’s what makes this virus so tough. Like flu, it’s “enveloped” by a protective fatty layer. The one around the flu gets thicker in lower temperatures, giving it more protection. Scientists believe this could also turn out to be the case with the coronavirus, which would allow it to spread more easily in cooler weather.
What you can do: Obviously, there isn’t a thing you can do to stop the coronavirus from getting that extra protection. But you CAN double down on your commitment to protecting yourself. Wear a mask. Avoid crowds. And keep up that frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds at a time. Experts say soap and water help destroy the fatty envelope surrounding the virus. Plus, it breaks the sticky bond between your skin and the bug, so it slips right off and goes down the drain. (Wondering how long coronavirus can live on the skin? Click here to find out.)
FACTOR #3: Keeping indoors
It’s harder to do things outdoors in much of the country because of the colder and wetter weather. Traditionally, that not only keeps us inside but also leads to a lot of socializing indoors, especially during the holidays.
So now you have a hardier virus protected by an extra-fatty later. It’s surrounded by the cooler, drier indoor air that it thrives in. Plus, it’s broken up into smaller particles that allow it to hang in the air longer and spread more easily among people crammed into smaller spaces. And, well, it’s easy to see why that all adds up to a recipe for disaster.
What you can do: Nothing. And I mean that literally. Don’t go to holiday parties and don’t host them. If you want to see friends or family this season, arrange a time to see each other outside and from a safe distance while wearing masks. Or go online instead. I know that kills the old holiday hugs and kisses, but the coronavirus is a KILLER too. And if we let down our guard and get cozy, we could be looking at one harsh winter ahead.