Is COVID-19 spread affected by the seasons, and if so, what does that mean for the winter ahead? How important are super-spreader events in the explosion of cases across the world?
Plus, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention updated a report on the risk that COVID-19 poses for pregnant women.
Risk for pregnant women
Previously, the CDC said pregnant women might be at an increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19.
That has since been changed. Now, experts believe pregnant women are indeed at an increased risk, based on the results of a new report.
The CDC’s less strongly worded recommendation was based on early date. Officials have now looked at more than 400,000 women with symptomatic COVID-19, of which more than 23,000 were pregnant.
After adjusting the data for age, ethnicity and other medical conditions, pregnant women were three times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit and require ventilators.
The risk of death was 70% higher.
It’s important to emphasize that the overall risk is still low. The risk of death among women of childbearing age with COVID-19 was only 0.12% in the study.
COVID-19 continued to spread over the summer, causing some experts to suggest it might not be as seasonal as many had hoped.
But there’s concern among others that the summer cases might have signaled the calm before the storm that’s coming this winter.
Research at the University of Michigan on the four commonly circulating human coronaviruses associated with mild respiratory illnesses has shown an increase in activity from October through May, with a peak in January and February.
Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know Nov. 3, 2020
Other research has found this pattern was especially pronounced as it moved further north of the equator.
SARS-CoV-2 is unique, and it hasn’t been around long enough to know with certainty how it will behave. But it if does what other coronaviruses do, there’s potential for explosive growth this winter.
Researchers at MIT looked at more than 50 well-documented super-spreader events across the world.
Super-spreader events are defined as one person spreading COVID-19 to more than six people at a single event.
Using mathematical modeling, researchers concluded the events are far more common than expected, and limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people could significantly reduce the impact of super-spreaders.