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Will We be Locked Down Again in Winter?
Health 28.07.20 

Will We be Locked Down Again in Winter?

Will we be Locked Down Again in Winter?

Typically, winter is the season that the common cold and flu tends to spread at the fastest rate. This has raised concerns that coronavirus will reach another peak when the seasons change, which could potentially lead to a second peak of the disease that is bigger than the first wave.  In this article, our experts give their opinion on whether or not we will be locked down again in winter.

The likelihood of the coronavirus reaching another peak will be is dependent not only on the coronavirus itself, but on what happens to other winter bugs, how long we continue to social distance and the ever-changing government policies around the pandemic. In addition, there is a relatively new field of science showing one viral infection can potentially block another one, with still unknown implications for coronavirus.

Will coronavirus spread more in winter?

To summarise, science suggests that the coronavirus will be more likely to spread during winter. However, this is largely based on evidence from other viruses.

There are four other types of coronavirus, which cause common cold symptoms, which all spread faster and more easily in winter. As all viruses survive outside of the human body better when the temperature is cold, it is highly likely that this will also apply to the coronavirus. The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has stated that a temperature of around 4C is a temperature that will help the virus to spread. In winter, it also means that there is less UV light from the sun, which inactivates the virus.

In addition, winter will lead to less barbeques and outdoor get togethers and instead more indoor gatherings (most likely with closed windows which means less ventilation, another key aspect in the virus spreading).

What Will Happen if The Virus Does Spread in Winter?

A report by the Academy of Medical Sciences estimates that if the virus does peak again in winter, there could be an estimated 251,000 deaths this winter in the UK.  This figure is based on the assumption that the R-number (the number of people each infected person passes the virus onto) rises to 1.7. It was around 3.0 before lockdown and is below 1.0 at the moment. A smaller rise in the N-number would lead to much less deaths, which is why it is so important to continue to follow the rules despite the lockdown beginning to ease.

It is estimated that only around 5% of people in the UK have been infected with coronavirus so far – this means that around 95% have no immunity at all.

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