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Coronavirus could become seasonal infection that returns each winter, experts warn

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app So far around 20 per cent of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus named Covid-19 have been classed as severe or critical

A woman wearing a face mask on a bus in London
A woman wearing a face mask on a bus in London Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Covid-19 may well become a seasonal virus returning each winter, scientists have said.

Experts believe that Covid-19 may become seasonal in the same way that other coronaviruses are. Currently seven coronaviruses have infected humans with most causing cold-like symptoms.

So far around 20 per cent of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus named Covid-19 have been classed as severe or critical, and the current death rate stands at about two per cent.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBut scientists have said that it is likely that it will become seasonal, meaning it may well taper off over spring before returning in the winter.

Professor John Oxford, a virologist from Queen Mary University of London, said: “It’s a question of crystal ball gazing but if you look at other members of the coronavirus family, that are respiratory viruses and we've known about them for the last 50 years or more, they're seasonal.

“They're just like the common cold, there's probably a few thousand people infected with them at the moment in England.

“Whether Covid-19 will fit into that pattern or not, we will just have to wait and see but my guess is it will . He said it had “enough characteristics” similar to the viruses we've known about for the last 50 years for it to eventually “settle down and become seasonal”.

Dr Oxford added that if the virus were seasonal we will begin to see “the figures drop off”.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThat, coupled with social distancing including not kissing or hugging, and washing hands would buy the industry time to develop antiviral drugs, which he said “can be delivered quite quickly”.

“My hope is that this virus will be seasonal and that the coming spring and summer may help us in our battle against the virus and it may have a very significant effect,” he said.

“As spring approaches it's not to do with the virus it's to do with us, we do something different in our habits and that makes the virus less transferable and transmittable.”

Dr Michael Skinner, Reader in Virology, Imperial College London, said that “we can’t rule out a second wave”.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“It could well slow down over the summer but I think most people anticipate that it's likely that it will come back as a second wave. It's common for influenza to talk about one, two, or three waves and even back in 2009 we had two waves there as well.”

Dr Skinner said that whilst it was all conjecture, it was “hard to believe it will go away unless everyone has been infected and they are all immune”.  

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“Therefore a proportion of those who hadn’t been infected the first time round will be infected the second time round.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBut he said: “The expectation is it would just eventually - and this could take a number of years - settle down much like the ones we regard as normal respiratory infections.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“In a few years time I think we will accept it’s there but it may well change and become less of a problem.”

The number of people currently infected with the virus worldwide was roughly 83,000 on Friday and there were more than 2,800 deaths.

Coronavirus could become seasonal infection that returns each winter, experts warn