How the winter weather blast affects COVID-19 cases

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While doctors and health experts have been encouraging Americans to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that a recent blast of winter weather may have impacted the state’s COVID-19 cases.

“We’ve now had a lot of practice with staying indoors,” said Dr. Eliza Chakravarty, with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. 

This arctic freeze is another reason to stay inside, but researchers say there could be a silver lining when it comes to COVID-19 cases. 

“I hope they go down no matter what, but it’s certainly possible that the externally forced everyone to stay indoors may accelerate the drop in cases,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

Even with a drop in numbers, the weather has hindered Oklahoma’s vaccine rollout and testing sites. 

“It affects things all the way up from shipping to people not being able to get to their appointments,” she said. 

Not being able to get testing could also lead to a dip in numbers. 

However, researchers say that’s no reason to let your guard down. 

“The decrease in the number of cases is very impressive but if you look at the overall curve over the last year, we’re still at around 600 infections a day and that’s still well above what we saw with the summer spike and the fall spike,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

There’s also concern people who needed to get tested did not. 

“It might slow people who have some symptoms who might need to seek medical attention and they may decide to wait it out and put themselves at risk of getting sicker,” she said. 

Another setback is the hold off on vaccine appointments. 

The CDC says you can wait up to six weeks after your first shot to get your booster, but what happens if you’re now past the six-week mark?

The short answer, researchers really don’t know yet. 

“The recommendation would still be as soon as you can get that second shot, don’t skip it,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

Bottom line, researchers tell us safety still comes first. 

“And that goes with protecting yourself against cold, against potential automobile accidents with the roads being so dangerous, and against COVID,” said Dr. Chakravarty. 

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