Viruses spread more easily in cold weather than hot, which is why winter is peak influenza season.
While it has yet to be seen whether the coronavirus will recede as temperatures increase in the northern hemisphere (and cases in tropical Singapore and southern hemisphere Australia may suggest the virus isn't too sensitive to hot weather), some researchers have warned it could become a perennial winter threat.
Speaking at a Pentagon briefing Thursday, Nelson Michael, the director for infectious disease research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said that efforts to develop vaccines and an effective treatment plan might not be quick enough to wipe out the virus before the "second wave" next winter.
"This is a respiratory virus and they always give us trouble during cold weather, for obvious reasons. We’re all inside, the windows are closed, etcetera, so we typically call that the influenza or the flu season," Nelson said.
He predicted the coronavirus may behave like the flu and give us "less trouble as the weather warms up," but, he cautioned, it tends to come back when the weather gets cold again.
"This is why it’s really important to understand that a lot of what we’re doing now is getting ourselves ready for what we’re calling the second wave of this," Nelson warned.
"We hope it doesn’t happen. If you remember SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), SARS came and went very quickly. We can’t count on that. We have to be ready that even if this epidemic begins to wane, we have to be ready for next winter when it may come back again."