Have viruses other than Covid-19 shifted their infection cycles? Elizabeth Tracey reports


As Covid infection continues apace, we have seen dramatic declines in flu and shifted patterns of other viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, attributes such changes to human behavior.

Ray: From a temperate zone life we think of flu as a winter virus, but in the tropics, the hot muggy times can be the peak of the flu season. So viruses don’t look at the calendar, but peoples’ behavior changes over time, and so there are a lot of dynamics that we ascribe to viruses, which are human behavioral dynamics. We saw that with the surges, that a lot of the surges couldn’t be explained by the seasons, they were explained in part by people getting relaxed and then the exponential growth of an infectious disease. We now have some learnings that we might be able to use to disrupt those patterns.  :34

Ray specifically notes that becoming more aware of when respiratory viruses of all types are increasing in transmission would also identify when wearing a mask might help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.