But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a smart approach to these cold-weather months, researchers say you can defy their grim projections.
Health experts say colder weather, the flu season, reopened schools and pandemic fatigue are a recipe for the most difficult months yet in the fight against coronavirus. Here’s why:
Colder weather: When more people gather indoors, there’s less opportunity for viral particles to disperse — increasing the risk of coronavirus spread.
“Aerosol means the droplets don’t drop immediately. They hang around for a period of time,” Fauci said.
This becomes “very relevant” when you are indoors and there is poor ventilation.
“You can certainly get both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could be catastrophic to your immune system,” said Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a family medicine physician in Florida.
“Your defenses go down, and it makes you vulnerable to getting a second infection on top of that,” Yasmin said.
Outbreaks in schools and on college campuses: Many schools that brought students back to classrooms are suffering with outbreaks that could keep growing in the coming months.
And once students and teachers get infected, they can unknowingly spread the virus in their communities.
Athens-Clarke County, home to the University of Georgia, managed to keep its Covid-19 numbers relatively low throughout the summer but suffered a “dramatic spike” in cases in the community, Mayor Kelly Girtz said.
“Clearly, it’s the return to campus of large numbers of students who are not here through the summertime,” the mayor said.
Some universities have already canceled spring break due to Covid-19 concerns. Those include Syracuse University, Georgia Tech and Ohio State.
There are two main reasons for that projected surge, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said.
“First, as case counts have come down in some states, we tend to see that people become less careful, they tend to have more contact,” he said. “But then the most important effect is the seasonality of the virus — that people go indoors, transmission happens more.
“That’s why our…