Will Florida’s humidity zap or fuel coronavirus?

History shows seasonal relief may not ease pandemic


With more than 1,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States and that number growing fast, people are hoping the change of season will make the virus go away.

Could Florida’s dreaded humidity actually slow coronavirus? If it does, then we can thank the sticky air and gunky stuff in our noses.

Mucus in our bodies acts as a defense antibody. When our noses dry out, the door is open for respiratory infections.

Viruses spread in both warm and chilly conditions but flourish in colder weather simply because people are more susceptible to picking up the disease due to close confinement.

History shows warm weather might not be enough to quell the dangerous spread.

An estimated 40-50 million people around the world died from the influenza pandemic of 1918. The U.S. Public Health Service said 675,000 Americans died of the so-called Spanish flu. Florida reported thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths from the Spanish flu, including 400 in Jacksonville in one month.

People got sick in the winter and spring, followed by an uptick of infection the following fall toward the end of World War I.

One could cite the lack of modern hospitals, medicines and hygiene at the time, but COVID-19 is charting unknown territory as the world’s first pandemic sparked by a coronavirus.

Experts fear its potential could rival the 1918 pandemic. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially upgraded COVID-19 to a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to do so in the United States.

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