New Delhi: There is a theory that warmer weather could stem the spread of the coronavirus. This theory emerged during the initial days of coronavirus outbreak but since then there has been a dramatic surge in coronavirus infection globally as the virus has affected almost every country across the globe irrespective of the weather conditions. NDTV spoke with experts to understand if high temperature can slow down the outbreak or not as the Northern Hemisphere head into summers.
According to a study conducted by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, a warm and humid weather is linked to slower spread of the novel coronavirus. The study assessed the data for the number of COVID-19 infections in different parts of the world and compared it with two parameters of weather from all the regions – temperature and humidity and based on their analysis, countries experiencing monsoon and warmer temperature may see a slowdown in transmission.
Dr. Surya Kant, Professor and Head of Department of Respiratory Medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU) Lucknow also iterated that like other flu causing viruses, coronavirus is heat labile (changes easily) and not heat resistant. He said,
The virus can get deactivated or destroyed when subjected to heat. But the exact threshold temperature to deactivate COVID-19 is still unknown. And so although there is some hope that in the coming days in India, there will be a slowdown in the rate of transmission as we enter summers, we should not rely completely on this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also said earlier this month that there was no evidence that temperature would play a role in the coronavirus outbreak but it was an avenue worth exploring.
Dr. Meenakshi Jain, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare, Patparganj and Noida asserted that the impact of temperature on coronavirus is still something that needs more research on. She said,
It’s too early to know. Scientists have a very limited information about coronavirus since it a new virus discovered just recently. There are varying views regarding this and only the coming days can tell what may become of this outbreak.
She further said that instead of waiting for what may happen in summers, it would be wiser to adopt effective measure to contain the spread like maintaining proper hygiene and avoiding close contact with people who seem sick. Apart from this, she also suggested that the government must expedite testing among people by many notches and prepare for more isolation facilities, ventilators, and personal protective equipments.
A total of 724 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India, as on March 27 (9:15 AM), out of which 67 have recovered and 17 have died, as per the data provided by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Globally, coronavirus has infected more than 5.5 Lakh poeple and had caused more than 24,000 fatalities till March 27.