This is part 4 of our coronavirus FAQ. Click here to read the other installments: #Coronavirus the facts. Find the latest information and answers from experts on everything COVID-19.
Q: Will the coronavirus slow down as temperatures rise?
Seasonal influenza typically does not spread as widely during the summer or in regions with warm climates. However, Professor Kaku Mitsuo of Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University says we cannot assume the new coronavirus will follow a similar pattern. He says additional research is needed to understand how climate affects the virus.
WHO Executive Director Michael Ryan told reporters on March 6 that it is still not known how the coronavirus behaves in different climatic conditions. He added that it is a "false hope" that COVID-19 will disappear in the summer.
The data presented here is accurate as of March 26, 2020.
Q: How long will the pandemic last?
Omi Shigeru is the vice chair of the government expert panel on the new coronavirus and the president of the Japan Community Health Care Organization. He was previously in charge of infectious disease measures at the WHO. Omi says the pandemic will be over only when the chain of infection is completely broken and there are no more new cases.
He says even if countries bring outbreaks under control by taking measures such as asking people to refrain from going outside, the virus can still flare up as long as it is active elsewhere in the world.
The WHO can declare an end to the epidemic if no new infections are declared over a certain period of time. For example, the body declared the 2003 SARS outbreak over eight months after the first patient was confirmed.
Omi also stresses that while vaccines and medicines are effective in stopping outbreaks, such treatments may not be enough to ending the pandemic.
The data presented here are as of March 27, 2020.