Researchers Investigate Flu Vs. Coronavirus Transmission In Florida

May 8, 2020
Originally published on May 8, 2020 11:38 am

Research shows Florida is different than the rest of the nation in terms of how our climate impacts flu transmission.

While influenza is not equivalent to COVID-19, it’s a good case study in how the coronavirus might progress.

So researchers, like Florida State University associate professor Chris Uejio, have been looking into it.

"We’ve found that the southeast has a different seasonality of flu than the rest of the U.S. So that might mean that the dynamics of how that may present risk to people may actually be spread out more over the year in the southeast and in Florida in particular," Uejio says. "Many people are talking about a second fall or winter wave of this epidemic. It’s quite possible that we’ll continue to see this existing wave carry on through the summer and then next spring and next summer.”

Uejio specializes in geography and public health. He says it’s possible that the virus could be spread out over a longer period of time here than in cold, dry climates.

He says one potential benefit of the current situation is a greater awareness of how diseases are spread.

“Maybe a month ago there was a stigma perhaps against wearing a mask in public, and you can see how rapidly things might evolve now where perhaps there is a stigma against NOT wearing a mask," Uejio says. "So having a better understanding of how some of these infectious diseases work could actually help prevent other infectious diseases going forward.”

Uejio sees another silver lining -- an increase in the resilience of our institutions to respond to surprises like environmental disasters or a pandemic.

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