Health officials hope warm weather will slow virus spread

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : March 13, 2020, 15:51 | Updated : March 13, 2020, 15:51

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- The weather is getting warmer, raising a glimmer of hope among health officials who got exhausted and drained by a prolonged fight to curb the spread of a new coronavirus that triggered a global pandemic. A state health agency gave no clear answer, saying it's too early to say because the immune system of South Koreans was not prepared for a new coronavirus attack.

Some strains of coronavirus typically spread during cold weather and then subside as the weather heats up. However, officials at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) conceded they do not know if COVID-19 will also be a seasonal disease.

"Some experts predict that COVID-19 will ebb naturally when the temperature goes up, while others say it won't be affected much," KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a regular press briefing on Friday. "It's hard to predict what kind of pattern it's going to show because it's a new virus."

Yet, Jeong expressed her cautious hope that COVID-19 will get weaker like influenza viruses that thrive in lower temperatures. "I think if the temperature goes up, we'll be less likely to live in a more confined environment, and I think ventilation and this kind of environmental factor can affect it."

Jeong said experts cannot predict the trajectory of the new virus because the immune system of South Koreans is not prepared for a new coronavirus attack. "I think we need to prepare and monitor more closely than to expect that temperature changes will weaken it."
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