Is the current increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 really the result of people moving indoors to enjoy air conditioning? We often make assumptions like this. “wave” or “rapid increase” (which is actually closer to a small increase this year). Similarly, when temperatures rise in winter, it is thought to be caused by people flocking indoors to escape the cold.
But whether it’s summer or winter, that explanation doesn’t work. This is because humans are basically indoor creatures, regardless of the season. And the virus continues to evolve new ways to evade our immunity, most recently deriving a new micron submutant called EG.5.
in a while good evidence The virus spreads more easily indoors, and there’s little evidence that people are spending much more time indoors now than they did in the spring. Also, there is not much evidence to suggest that most people spent enough time outdoors to influence the ebb and flow of his SARS-CoV2 and other respiratory virus pandemics.
People spend 90% of their lives indoors, said Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard School of Public Health. He wants more attention to indoor air ventilation and filtration to protect people from wildfire smoke, pollutants and viruses.
On a personal level, it’s true that parks and beaches are less likely to catch the virus than crowded indoor parties. But on a societal level, it doesn’t make much sense to attribute the virus surge to people moving indoors. So what actually causes viral diseases to surge in waves and seasonal peaks?
Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, will learn more about viral biology — how they interact with each other and with our immune systems. Say you have something to do. He was critical of the explanation that all surges are due to changes in our behavior. Even if the waves rise in winter, It rained long before the weather changed Enough to allow more outdoor activities.
Of course, in COVID-19, a new set of mutations has caused many waves in the past, but again, it’s never clear what is calming them down.
And there are still some mysteries behind the seasonal activity of more familiar viruses. Influenza cases follow seasonal patterns in both the southern and northern hemispheres. peak in winterHowever, in the tropics, Influenza is prevalent all year round. why? Osterholm said it’s not well understood.
Even stranger is the fact that new viruses can quickly push older ones out of the seasonal window. During the winter of 2020-2021, the world experienced very little RSV or common influenza. Then, in 2022, these infections reappeared, but peaked in autumn rather than winter.
Osterholm said he hopes that doctors and journalists will stop using the term “tripletemia” to describe the comorbidity of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19 by the end of 2022. The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was winding down and other illnesses weren’t worse than usual, but they just peaked earlier.
Osterholm doubts that some scientists have attributed the lower flu and respiratory syncytial virus infections to mask wearing in 2020 and 2021. First, attempts at universal masking were not effective enough to curb the novel coronavirus during surges.
And similar displacement of other viruses occurred during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. “When you look at RSV, it literally vanishes, which he did until 2010, but we didn’t find any other flu his virus. Why? No mitigation strategies were put in place,” he said. Ta. No one was wearing a mask.
Osterholm said in late 2020 and early 2021 he didn’t get popularity points for saying: The darkest days of the pandemic may be ahead of us. But Omicron said he was right to worry about the impact of potential new variants.
Another new subspecies could emerge at any moment, the current subspecies, omicron, continues to spin off new subspecies, the BA series being superseded by a series of XBB subspecies, most recently EG Superseded by variants called .5 and EG.5.1. Osterholm said he is still studying the effects of these new subspecies, which are on the rise worldwide and became dominant in the United States last week. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is less equipped to monitor new variants than it was last year, as efforts to collect gene sequences for samples dwindle.
The rising number of infected people highlights an uncomfortable reality. We are not, and have never been, in full control of the pandemic, even though we have the tools to reduce individual risk.
In the early days of the pandemic, there was a common notion that group projects aimed at conquering the virus were failing. But ending the pandemic before a vaccine was available was unrealistic, and experts were leading people in too many directions, not all of them helpful. Many people stayed home to sanitize their mail and food items while denouncing photos of beachgoers and Swedes in outdoor cafes. Much of that effort and anger was misplaced and unsupported by any kind of scientific evidence.
Now that airborne transmission is better understood, people can reduce the risk to older friends and relatives by holding weddings and other large gatherings outdoors. People can also protect themselves against COVID-19 (and many other viruses) by wearing good-fitting, high-quality masks, staying home if they feel unwell, and washing their hands frequently. You can reduce the risk of getting infected or contagious. And, of course, vaccines reduce the risk of severe illness. Booster vaccinations may be important for people at high risk.
Scientists need to keep looking for evidence-based explanations for the rise and fall of waves of viruses, large and small. This is an interesting question and the answer may be useful. And having a definite answer can be much more satisfying than simply admitting you don’t know.
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