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WHO warns of misconception that 'nCoV’s infection is seasonal’

15:55 | 29/07/2020

In a virtual meeting on July 28 about the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said the coronavirus transmission did not appear to be impacted by seasonality. She also warned against the false belief that summer hindered the development of nCoV.

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who warns of misconception that ncovs infection is seasonal
WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris (Photo: BBC)

"Season does not seem to be affecting the transmission of this virus”, Harris was quoted by AFP as saying.

Accordingly, the WHO spokesperson pointed out that some of the hardest-stricken countries worldwide were currently experiencing different seasons of the year. The US and Brazil make striking examples. While the US, with 148,000 deaths and nearly 4.3 million infections, is amidst summer, Brazil, the second stricken country worldwide is facing cold wintery days.

Harris also stressed that people are seemingly fixated on the idea that the nCoV is seasonal and is “just a normal flu virus” and that the COVID-19 pandemic will come in wave. However, according to Harris, nCoV is a novel virus strain with a different working mechanism. Therefore, instead of believing and hoping nCoV will work like normal viruses, people should find ways to prevent it from spreading.

According to the WHO spokesperson, physical distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask where appropriate, always covering up sneezes and coughs, staying home when experiencing symptoms, the isolation of cases and quarantining of contacts, will work in the fight against the novel virus.

"What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus... and even though it is a respiratory virus and even though respiratory viruses in the past did tend to do these different seasonal waves, this one is behaving differently," Dr. Harris said, adding that people should look at what is actually known about how to stop transmission of the novel virus.

"But at the moment, we aren't doing that, because people seem to have it fixed in their heads that there is this seasonal thing and there seems to... be this persistent belief that summer is not a problem," Dr. Harris said.

"Summer is a problem. This virus likes all-weather, but what it particularly likes is jumping from one person to another when we come in close contact. Let's not give it that opportunity”, she added.

As of July 29 early afternoon, the coronavirus which first emerged in China’s Wuhan city has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances. Over 16.89 million people have been infected, nearly 664,000 have died. The US is still the hardest-hit country, with over 4.49 cases, almost double that of Brazil, the second stricken country worldwide.

India, Russia and South Africa are the three other countries in the top 5 countries suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, many European counties, including German, the UK, France are bracing for the potential second wave of the pandemic.

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