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Covid may not follow seasonal patterns of communicable diseases

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Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control
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Some communicable diseases, such as the flu, have a seasonal pattern. Their ebb and flow can be predicted with some degree of confidence. But the more we learn about Covid-19, the more it appears the virus sets its own calendar.

Early in the pandemic, some people wondered if the coronavirus would fall into a seasonal pattern. Others speculated warm weather would crush the virus. But nearly two years into the pandemic, the voluminous data that have been collected suggest that's not happening. Spokane County Health Officer Francisco Velazquez says the virus isn't behaving like the flu.

"Judging by how viruses typically transmit and reproduce, at some point we may see an established pattern, but right now we don't really have one yet," he said.

Velazquez says the all-season nature of Covid-19 has been recorded in every part of the world, including the Inland Northwest.

"If you look at our own distribution in Spokane and in the state of Washington, we have these peaks and valleys that are not really related to seasonality yet," he said.

Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee expressed concern that the most recent Delta variant isn't tailing off as quickly as previous waves. Cases in the state have flattened somewhat at elevated levels.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.