Why Warm Weather Doesn’t Always Slow the Spread of a Virus

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus crippled the global economy. Countries like Italy, Spain, and the United States dealt with tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of cases, and a lasting impact on families because of COVID-19.


When a pandemic develops, many people look to warmer weather as a way to have life get back to normal. Although many viruses operate on seasonal cycles, a widespread global event doesn’t behave in the same way.

COVID-19 Will Likely Become Endemic

Most experts think that the new coronavirus will become a seasonal event that will slowly get better as humans develop more immunity to it. Although there will always be risk factors to consider for vulnerable populations, the pandemic months of 2020 should be the worst that there are for this disease.

The same issue happened during the influenza outbreaks of 1918 and 1919, globally. Often referred to as the Spanish flu, it came in three waves to take up to 50 million lives during those 12 months it was active.

Now that the influenza virus is part of the regular seasonal cycle. COVID-19 will become part of that process. The question that we need to answer is whether the sensitivity of the virus to the seasons can influence its capacity to spread.

Related Coronaviruses are Already Seasonal

Coronaviruses are part of a family of enveloped viruses. When you look at them in a microscope, then you can see a lipid bilayer that looks like it is wearing an oily coat. Then proteins stick out of it like the points of a crown to encourage cell infections once it enters the body.

Although other coronaviruses are already seasonal and COVID-19 is about 90% similar to the 2003 SARS virus, the protein spikes in this new version seem wired to infect human cells easier. That’s why it is such an infectious disease. People can start spreading it for up to five days before any symptoms display – and some people don’t have any symptoms.

That’s why we need to be cautiously hopeful. Warm weather can slow the spread of a virus, but it isn’t a guarantee. You can still catch a case of influenza during the summer months. There’s nothing to suggest that the new coronavirus will be any different.

Warm weather can make the oily coat of the virus more susceptible to death before it can infect someone. Cold weather causes it to harden to a rubbery state for more resiliency. Until we know more about how COVID-19 behaves, we must assume that the virus will survive.