BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As temperatures begin to drop with the changing of the seasons, researchers at Johns Hopkins say COVID-19 could spread more during the colder weather.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins believe Americans will be facing an uphill battle this fall in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The concern is now that we’re heading into colder weather, the anticipation is that the rate of increase that we will get could be significant,” Assistant Professor Dr. Adam Kaplin told WJZ.

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Kaplin noticed that the virus seemed to spread less when he was visiting Brazil in February, compared to colder environments up north in the U.S.

He and his team then looked at coronavirus transmission rates in different countries and the local temperature and found a pattern in this preliminary research.

“The interesting thing is that as the temperature goes up from 30 to 100 degrees, you have a 70 percent decrease in the rate of transmission that is due to temperature,” Dr. Kaplin said.

He says if we keep COVID-19 restrictions at the same level they were over the summer, those won’t contain the virus in the fall and winter as colder temperatures move in.

“As we head into the colder weather, if we don’t anticipate this, then we’re going to be in real trouble,” Kaplin said.

The seasonal flu also starts to spread as it gets colder, which could make navigating the pandemic even more difficult.

“The symptoms of COVID-19 and symptoms of the flu kind of crisscross,” Michelle Momoh, of CVS Minute Clinic, said.

It’s why doctors say this year it’s especially important to get the flu shot.

This year, the CVS Minute Clinic has already seen a difference in the number of people getting the vaccine.

“We’ve seen our numbers definitely increase as far as it comes to patients coming in to get the flu vaccine,” Momoh said. “I feel like a lot of people just really want to be protected this season.”

Doctors are urging people to get the flu vaccine sooner rather than later before flu activity starts to pick up.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller

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