Friday, January 11, 2013

Special: Flu Outbreak May Experience Spike Soon

Source: CNN
Everyone's heard of the sudden flu outbreak that has been ravaging the country, and the second to worst part is, the peak isn't in sight. The worst part is, it may get worse. And fast.

The above map shows the current spread of the flu. All states are in some form of flu alert, with many states bypassing all levels and skipping to 'High' infectivity rates, with big states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and Illinois on that list, just to name a few. Questions are arising like: Why is the flu so bad? Why is this year so horrible compared to others? And why is the peak still weeks away? While we can't answer all of those, there is one issue we have to face: this outbreak could get worse in coming weeks.

The answer? Cold weather.

The flu virus is a wintertime virus because it thrives in cold and dry conditions. This winter, while not particularly cold, is carrying a stronger flu virus than normal, explaining the severity and spread of the virus. This outbreak appears to be on the fast track to getting worse. This is due to an impending breakdown of the Arctic and resulting cold outbreaks. Yes, plural.

Forecasts agree that the first cold shot will be on the way in coming days, so the next week or two could see a fair spike in numbers of infected patients. However, the real surprise comes after December 20th. You see, a permanent low pressure system that sits in the Arctic will be forced south as high pressure builds in that region. As a result, anomalously colder weather will be shoved into the United States, only enhancing the favorability of conditions for the flu virus. With this Arctic air comes further decreasing of the air's humidity, again boosting favorable conditions for the flu virus to divide and conquer.

So in conclusion, incoming colder weather will hit in waves and should persist through February starting in Late January. This could very well heighten the spread of the flu virus all over, something no one needs at this time of year.


1 comment:

Eric said...

Good post Andrew, although I think the flu in my area peaked during December in central NC, everywhere I went, from school to public areas, with friends, etc, most people were sick. After Christmas, it seems to have quieted down some, but this impending cold coming is definitely not good, at least on the flu front, on the other hand, an abundance of cold and snow looks to be on the way for the US for late Jan-Feb.