Seasonality of Respiratory Viral Infections: Will COVID-19 Follow Suit?
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Respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, are known to have a high incidence of infection during winter, especially in temperate regions. Dry and cold conditions during winter are the major drivers for increased respiratory tract infections as they increase virus stability and transmission and weaken the host immune system. The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China in December 2020 and swiftly spread across the globe causing substantial health and economic burdens. Several countries are battling with the second wave of the virus after a devastating first wave of spread, while some are still in the midst of their first wave. It remains unclear whether SARS-CoV-2 will eventually become seasonal or will continue to circulate year-round. In an attempt to address this question, we review the current knowledge regarding the seasonality of respiratory viruses including coronaviruses and the viral and host factors that govern their seasonal pattern. Moreover, we discuss the properties of SARS-CoV-2 and the potential impact of meteorological factors on its spread.