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Title: COVID-19 : the possible seasonal shape of things to come
Authors: Grech, Victor E.
Cuschieri, Sarah
Gauci, Charmaine
Keywords: COVID-19 (Disease) -- Prevention
Coronavirus infections -- Prevention -- Australia
Influenza vaccines
Communicable diseases -- Transmission -- Prevention
Influenza -- Prevention
Tourism -- Economic aspects
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Grech, V., Cuschieri, S., & Gauci, C. (2020). COVID-19: the possible seasonal shape of things to come. Early Human Development, 105262.
Abstract: Introduction: The world is currently experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. The northern hemisphere awaits winter with foreboding, anticipating an amplification of the current second wave of COVID-19 concurrent with annual seasonal influenza. Methods: This paper attempts to overview current seasonal COVID-19 trends. Results: Cases are spiking now in winter in Australia and also in summer weather, such as in Florida. Clearly warm weather does not significantly dampen viral spread unless public health mitigation measures are adhered to. Respiratory pathogens (including influenza), will co-circulate in winter. Co-infection with influenza and COVID-19 may worsen outcomes and mutations of either virus may change and further negatively affect such outcomes. The public in Australia has avidly taken the influenza vaccine and this, along with COVID-19 prevention measures, has drastically curbed influenza spread in this country. Conclusions: Countries in the northern hemisphere with high rates of COVID-19 should strive to reduce numbers prior to the onset of winter. Those that managed to maintain low COVID-19 rates due to public health measures should endeavor to maintain this status quo despite opening borders for economically badly needed tourists. Spikes of cases in countries wherein COVID-19 was formerly under control will deter tourists, further depressing beleaguered economies. Vigilance must be maintained until an effective vaccine becomes available. The key is to have public health driven economy whereby opening of borders and activities organized are driven by evidence based public health advice. Influenza vaccination is highly recommended.
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