A patient of novel coronavirus is discharged from a hospital in Tianshui, northwest China’s Gansu province, Feb. 19, 2020. Photo by Zhou Wentao, People’s Daily Online
A patient of novel coronavirus is discharged from a hospital in Tianshui, northwest China’s Gansu province, Feb. 19, 2020. Photo by Zhou Wentao, People’s Daily Online

Rumor has it that the COVID-19 epidemic will “go away” in April as most of the coronavirus-affected countries and regions are getting warm.

The fact is, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and some experts, it is still too soon to tell. Though some viruses are seasonal, it is not clear whether the novel coronavirus will behave the same way. Epidemiologists have already cautioned against the bet on the weather to halt the outbreak. “We don’t know if this virus will be seasonal, because we haven’t had previous experience with this virus,” Columbia University epidemiologist Stephen Morse said in an article published on FactCheck.org in mid-February, “It’s possible it will be seasonal, but it’s too early to tell,” Morse added.

Whether the virus will decline by April also depends on such factors as the degree of spread as well as the containment efforts, according to the article. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch doesn’t assume that changes in weather will make a big difference in how the virus spreads.”COVID-19 has now been documented around the world. If the virus is anything like a typical flu virus, it may worsen in Southern Hemisphere regions as the seasons change,” Lipsitch was quoted as saying by a science story published on the National Geographic website. On Friday, Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, told a daily briefing in Geneva that there is no evidence right now suggesting COVID-19 will disappear in summer. “We do not know yet what the activity or behavior of the virus will be in different climatic conditions,” said Ryan, warning against the assumption that the virus would just disappear on its own in the summertime like influenza. “We have to assume the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread,” he noted.As of Monday, 104 countries and regions had reported a total of 109,578 cases of COVID-19, according to the WHO.

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