Adherence to health precautions, not climate, the biggest factor driving wintertime COVID-19 outbreaks
The researchers — working in summer 2020 — ran simulations of a wintertime coronavirus outbreak in New York City to identify key factors that would allow the virus to proliferate. They found that relaxing control measures in the summer months led to an outbreak in the winter regardless of climate factors. “Our results implied that lax control measures — and likely fatigue with complying with control measures — would fuel wintertime outbreaks. Although we have witnessed a substantial number of COVID-19 cases, population-level immunity remains low in many locations.”
The researchers found that even maintaining rigid control measures through the summer can lead to a wintertime outbreak if climate factors provided enough of a boost to viral transmission. If summertime controls are holding the transmissibility of coronavirus at a level that only just mitigates an outbreak, then winter climate conditions can push you over the edge. Nonetheless, having effective control measures in place last summer could have limited the winter outbreaks we’re now experiencing.
Release date: 09 February 2021
Source: Princeton University