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  • Will The Warmer Weather End The COVID-19 Outbreak? Experts Respond

    There is still a lot to be learned about how the disease is affected by weather changes.
    by Kate Borbon .
Will The Warmer Weather End The COVID-19 Outbreak? Experts Respond
  • When there is an outbreak, some myth, hoax or urband legend is not far behind. Nothing is truer than in the time of COVID-19, and we have read and heard quite a few. One of the most persistent claims even before the Philippines confirmed its first COVID-19 cases is this: Hot or warm weather will end the COVID-19 outbreak.

    It is a claim that was even brought up during a press briefing in Malacañang Palace on Monday, March 9, 2020. In response, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Philippines, said that the summer season will not kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    “What we have seen more recently is not supportive of that,” said Dr. Abeyasinghe, Manila Bulletin reports. “We are seeing continuing transmission in very tropical countries like Singapore, Malaysia. And so, the evidence we have at this point is not supportive.”

    Dr. Abeyasinghe adds that while the survival of the virus in warmer countries with high humidity is lesser than in colder countries with low humidity, there are still other factors that could facilitate the transmission of the virus.

    “This could work in favor of lower levels of transmissions, but there are other factors such as overcrowding that could work negatively and contribute to increase transmission. So the actual outcome will depend on each country’s situation,” Dr. Abeyasinghe explained.

    One reason some might think that COVID-19 could subside in warmer weather could be its similarities to the flu, which tends to lessen during the summer months, National Geographic notes.

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    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and the virus can stay in a person’s body for up to two weeks before he or she starts showing symptoms. Johns Hopkins Medicine says that the flu causes similar symptoms as well as body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

    Both COVID-19 and the flu can be spread from person to person through viral droplets from an infected person who coughs, sneezes, or talks. The CDC adds that it may also be possible to get COVID-19 if you touch an infected surface or object then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, though this is not believed to be the main way the virus is transmitted.

    Still, health experts believe we still have a long way to go in determining how the COVID-19 outbreak will be affected by warmer weather. Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC cautions the public against assuming the number of COVID-19 cases will decline when the summer kicks in. “I think it’s premature to assume that. We haven’t been through even a single year with this pathogen,” she says in a call with reporters on February 12, Time reports.

    Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, tells Time that weather is only one of the factors that will determine when and how the COVID-19 outbreak ends. “Rate of virus spread, effectiveness of infection control practices, weather and human immunity will likely all play a role in determining its future.”

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    For now, the safest thing to do is practice protective measures that can impede the spread of SARS-CoV-2. In an article for SmartParenting.com.ph, Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, an infectious diseases specialist and molecular biologist, reminds the public to wash their hands thoroughly, practice cough etiquette and social distancing, and avoid unnecessary travels. If you have a cough or cold, try to stay home to avoid transmitting it to others or wear a surgical mask when you go outdoors.

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