Hoping Summer Will Kill Coronavirus? New Study Says We're Past That Point
Research shows that higher temperatures do make a difference—but only to a certain point.
We all know that flu season falls in colder months, with fewer cases coming about in the spring and especially summer. But it may be time to let go of the hope that hot weather will have any direct impact on the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases looked into the impact that weather conditions could have on the disease, based on existing cases, and its findings aren't encouraging for those hoping that the summer will kill coronavirus.
The good news? Researchers found that the rate of infections did decrease slightly as temperatures climbed—but only to a certain point. Above 52 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature did not make a significant difference. In most parts of the country, we're already enjoying warmer days, so logic would say that we've already experienced the dip in cases that this research predicts.
The same study also looked at whether UV rays from the sun or precipitation seemed to have an effect. The infection rate was lowered slightly as the UV Index climbed, but not enough to conclude that summer will wipe out the virus. Precipitation, meanwhile, doesn't affect coronavirus spread at all.
"Based on our analysis, the modest association [between temperature and infection rate] suggests that it is unlikely that disease transmission will slow dramatically in the summer months from the increase in temperature alone," said the study's first author Shiv T. Sehra, MD, Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Mount Auburn Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, per Science Daily.
According to the National Institutes of Health, many researchers do believe that COVID-19 may become a seasonal disease if it's not eradicated. As immunity develops in the population, it may fall into patterns similar to the flu. But we have a long way to go until then.
So as the weather improves and being stuck inside the house becomes less and less appealing, it's vital to remember that science has basically discounted that sunshine and higher temperatures will slow this disease while it's in the pandemic stages. Continue taking precautions, such as frequent hand washing, wearing a mask in public, and social distancing as much as possible. And for more health facts you need to know, This Is When Coronavirus Is Most Contagious.