Warmer Weather May Slow, Not Stop, COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first erupted in China this winter, hopes have lingered that the outbreak would die down with the change of seasons.  “A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat,” U.S. Stalls are shuttered at Hong Lim Hawker Centre in Singapore, May 10, 2020, amid the coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 cases in Singapore recently spiked to 700 to 800 per day.”We can see that this virus has spread all over the world, with many different temperatures,” said Universidad Católica de Valencia bioengineering professor Angel Serrano Aroca. “I believe that there is an effect of weather conditions, but I think that this virus is so contagious that there are other factors that are much more important.” Population density, social-distancing measures and public health tools such as testing and contact tracing likely have more of an impact than weather, experts said.  For Murray and colleagues at the University of Washington, “mobility is the most important (factor) and then testing per capita,” he said. When his group more than doubled their estimated COVID-19 death toll in the United States, from 60,000 in mid-April to 135,000 last week, it was largely because states were loosening social distancing and individuals were moving around more even in supposedly locked-down areas. Temperature is probably “important, yet minimal,” he said.  Scientists still have a lot to learn about the virus, however. “As some places warm up,” Murray added, “we may get a stronger signal to understand better what the actual full temperature or seasonality effect will be.” 


comments