Potential impact of seasonal forcing on a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Richard Neher
Biozentrum, University of Basel

slides at neherlab.org/202005_HIV_Dyn.html

Original title mid February...

Published two weeks later...

Seasonal incidence of influenza viruses

Data by the US CDC

Seasonal incidence of enteroviruses

Pons-Salort et al

Potential seasonal drivers

  • humidity (e.g. dry air increases time before droplets fall down)
  • temperature
  • UV light
  • behavior (e.g. time spent indoors, ventilation, heating)

Exact nature of forcing not relevant for this talk...

2009 pandemic influenza -- UK

By Dave Farrance - wikipedia

1918 influenza --- UK

Taubenberger et al
by Trevor Bedford

Human corona viruses have pronounced seasonal prevalence (Sweden)

Neher et al

SIR model with seasonal forcing

$$\beta(t) = \beta_0\left(1+\epsilon\cos(2\pi (t-\theta))\right)$$
Neher et al

Strong seasonality can be generated through strong forcing or resonance

Yellow: good fit -- Blue: poor fit

Neher et al

Seasonal forcing and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Counter-factual scenario without strong social distancing!

Seasonal forcing and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Potential transition to an endemic seasonal virus


  • Robert Dyrdak
  • Jan Albert
  • Valentin Druelle
  • Emma Hodcroft