The impacts of cooler temperatures on COVID-19

The impacts of cooler temperatures on COVID-19

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - COVID-19 cases are on the rise. But, with cooler weather on the way, we take a look at how the lower temperatures could impact the virus.

“I’d like everyone to know that every single individual has a role to play, and that role is to make good individual choices,” said South Central Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Horne.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported more than 1,300 new COVID-19 cases in Mississippi with 12 deaths on Thursday. Two of those deaths were reported in the Pine Belt.

Horne said right now, Mississippi is seeing a rise in cases.

“I encourage people not to look at a single day to try and make a judgment, but when you look at a single series of days, we typically think of this as a five to seven day running average. The five to seven day average shows an increase in cases. So, yes. It does appear that we began to see our fall increase,” Horne said.

On the minds of many is, will the milder fall temperatures increase the chance of getting COVID-19.

“What we do know is that viral respiratory illnesses tend to be more prominent in the cooler months for a variety of reasons. Cooler air will carry more moisture and will allow these viral respiratory particles to travel farther and the virus perhaps to live longer as opposed to a hot,” said Horne.

Horne added that health officials don’t have a solid understanding of how COVID-19 will play out during the cooler months.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert explains what we can expect for the winter outlook.

“The outlook for Mississippi favors a milder, or warmer than average, winter season, as well as a dryer than the average winter season,” said Halpert.

Horne said the best way to combat the virus is to social distance, wear a mask and continue to wash your hands.

Horne said to not forget influenza during the fall and winter. You can start getting flu shots now, but remember, getting a flu shot does not decrease your chances of contracting COVID-19, but it will help combat the flu so that you may not contract both.

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