SABC NEWS: There are no scientific findings confirming the relation between cold weather and an increased risk of COVID-19 infections. This is according to General Practitioner based in Durban – Doctor Prithi Ramlachan. With a cold-front expected in parts of the country this week, concerns have been raised about the possible spreading of the coronavirus. Ramlachan says there are types of flu that develop during cold weather patterns, however, there’s no scientific proof that the same happens with the coronavirus.
What do the experts say about flu jabs and the COVID-19 coronavirus during winter?
As the southern hemisphere moves closer to winter, virologists are concerned about the upcoming influenza season. This may result in more people needing medical care for flu – including hospitalisation – while the health system is still battling the coronavirus. This may swing the pendulum in favour of SARS-CoV-2 by making it harder to control the pandemic, especially in Africa, which has recorded the lowest number of cases thus far.
People older than 65 are most at risk and could die of either flu or COVID-19. Influenza also causes severe disease in young children. This is different to COVID-19, which has so far caused very few fatalities in children under nine. Pregnant women and people with HIV or other immune-suppressive conditions are at high risk for severe disease and even death due to influenza. People with underlying health conditions may also experience COVID-19 more severely.
There are many other respiratory viruses that circulate throughout the year. But the influenza virus can be deadly. Influenza epidemics occur in late autumn and winter – between May and August – in the southern hemisphere and during the rainy season, which may be year round in the tropics.