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South Florida's Steamy Weather Might Help Suppress COVID Spread During Summertime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Many have questioned whether COVID-19 will eventually be seasonal, with the novel coronavirus spreading more at certain times of the year.

Well, according to a new study, South Florida's steamy weather might help suppress COVID spread in the summertime.

Researcher found that meteorological factors such as warmer temperatures, increased humidity and higher levels of UV radiation are associated with decreased transmission.

"The way it's associated would suggest that in the wintertime, this virus will be more active, it will be more transmissible at that time of year," said Dr. Jeffrey Shaman. "And that little boost is going to allow it to get around and preferentially cause outbreaks during the wintertime rather than during the summertime."

Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, coauthored the study, which looked at thousands of us counties from March to December of 2020.

This past winter, mask wearing kept the flu from spreading on top of COVID. But now the concern is what will happen next season when pandemic precautions are no longer in place.

"The thing that's going to happen if we go back to normal interactions and stop wearing the masks and social distancing is flu is going to be able to transmit the way it used to," Shaman said. "If we have both flu and COVID at the same time, our health care systems, our hospitals are going to have to plan for that."

And while summer is on everyone's mind right now, researchers say it's important to plan for the winter, especially in the northern regions of the U.S.

Researchers say of the factors they studied, humidity played the largest role.

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