Novel coronavirus predicted to become as common as the cold and flu

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We're used to cold and flu seasons, but could we be seeing a coronavirus season in the future? Experts think that the novel coronavirus will likely become the newest commonplace sickness to take up a permanent place in the repertoire of human respiratory viruses.

Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, believes that the coronavirus is here to stay. The virus, which has infected 168,000 globally so far, has a high chance of becoming seasonal, meaning it would go away in the summer and return every fall and winter.

"This is going to be with us for some time – it's endemic in human populations and not going to go away without a vaccine," Adalja told Business Insider.


Typically, respiratory viruses develop a protective gel-like coating called a capsid in cooler temperatures, which helps it survive long enough to travel in the air and be transmitted between individuals. When temperatures get warmer, that protective coating is stripped away and the virus has a harder time persisting.

One would hope that the warmth of the coming spring season will help the virus recede. However, experts say seasonal changes in temperature are still not going to be enough to fully thwart transmissions. A vaccine would likely still be the best mode of protection.

"[Warm weather] may decrease in transmission frequency so that you'll be able to have time to get a vaccine scaled up by the next appearance of it," Adalja added.


COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is marked by coughs, fevers, and, on some occasions, severe lung infections such as pneumonia. Older adults, as well as individuals who are immunocompromised or have chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, are at higher risk of developing complications.

There are currently four strains of coronaviruses in circulation, which means the novel coronavirus would be the fifth endemic coronavirus, should it turn seasonal.

Photo by Pxhere

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