• Question: Will covid 19 come back each year like normal flu go away forever like Spanish flu?

    Asked by Edward Dodd to Melanie on 8 Jul 2020.
    • Photo: Melanie Krause

      Melanie Krause answered on 8 Jul 2020:


      Hi Edward!
      Great question! 🙂
      Unfortunately for SARS-CoV-2 to come back each year it would have to go away first.. and that doesn’t seem to happen. Some viruses occur seasonal like the flu as you already said! Some viruses are not seasonal at all and just infect people all year round.. at the moment it seems that the new coronavirus can infect people in all climate zones so it will probably not be affected by the seasons very much.
      The spanish flu was one specific flu strain that was much more deadly than the other ones that typically circulate each year and it killed a lot more people than flu typically does.
      The new virus is very different from flu because it is a different virus class.. the flu is caused by Influenza virus while Covid-19 is caused by a corona virus..
      The media and some politicians compare the two very often but they are actually quite different. I think we can get rid of the new coronavirus forever if we find a vaccine that works very well and get everyone to be vaccinated.
      The virus I study is actually a relative of small pox.. and small pox were the deadliest virus to have ever existed (it existed on earth for over 2000 years and killed around 500 million people in that time). Luckily a vaccine was found and the WHO vaccinated everyone in the 1960s and 1970s.. because of that the virus is actually now extinct and no new cases have been found since 1977. Hopefully we can do the same with this virus!

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