Seasonality of Common Human Coronaviruses, United States, 2014-20211

Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Oct;28(10):1970-1976. doi: 10.3201/eid2810.220396. Epub 2022 Aug 25.


The 4 common types of human coronaviruses (HCoVs)-2 alpha (HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E) and 2 beta (HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-OC43)-generally cause mild upper respiratory illness. Seasonal patterns and annual variation in predominant types of HCoVs are known, but parameters of expected seasonality have not been defined. We defined seasonality of HCoVs during July 2014-November 2021 in the United States by using a retrospective method applied to National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System data. In the 6 HCoV seasons before 2020-21, season onsets occurred October 21-November 12, peaks January 6-February 13, and offsets April 18-June 27; most (>93%) HCoV detection was within the defined seasonal onsets and offsets. The 2020-21 HCoV season onset was 11 weeks later than in prior seasons, probably associated with COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Better definitions of HCoV seasonality can be used for clinical preparedness and for determining expected patterns of emerging coronaviruses.

Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus disease; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; United States; alphacoronavirus; betacoronavirus; coronavirus; coronavirus disease; respiratory infections; seasonality; seasons; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Coronavirus NL63, Human*
  • Coronavirus OC43, Human*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • United States / epidemiology

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