The theory that the transmission of COVID-19 will remit or disappear with the arrival of high temperatures has been denied by a Canadian study released this Friday and which reaffirms that the only thing shown is that measures such as physical distance do work.
For those who still believe the words of US President Donald Trump, who claimed in February that the coronavirus would disappear with rising temperatures, Peter Jüni, professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study, has a simple message: nothing of that.
According to the study carried out by Jüni and his team, and which is published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the reality is that after studying cases from 144 regions of the world that totaled more than 375,000 COVID-19 positives until on March 27, the data guarantee that high temperatures do not affect the transmission and spread of the disease.
In an interview with Efe, Jüni explained that the idea that the disease will behave like the flu or traditional colds, which disappear largely in the warmer months, is not true, and warned of the importance of not reopening schools before of time to avoid backing down in the fight against the new coronavirus.
In their study, Jüni and her team analyzed data from countries with mean temperatures of 31.2 degrees Celsius (Burkina Faso) and areas of Canada with means of -10.3 degrees. Those differences had no effect on disease transmission.
THE CORONAVIRUS DOES NOT NEED FAVORABLE CONDITIONS
Professor Jüni indicated that the main difference between the influenza virus and COVID-19 is that the latter does not seem to need favorable conditions for its transmission.
"The coronavirus does not need favorable conditions. We wished there was some signal, which was seen in a pilot program, but when rigorous methods were actually used, that signal disappeared. Unfortunately we are very confident that our results are true: the temperature or the climate they will have no effect, "he said.
"Perhaps the humidity will do something, but it is very small and it will not be enough to slow down the epidemic during the summer. It will not happen," he added.
The professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation added that the summer months may even worsen the pandemic.
"We don't know for sure what happens with the flu. What is important is that we all have a certain immunity against the flu. And that's the big difference. So the flu needs favorable conditions and the cold weather is a bit more favorable than warm, "he explained.
"However, influenza also benefits from a long summer vacation. Even with regard to influenza we do not know how much (of its existence) it is due to cold weather, lower humidity, lower temperatures, less radiation and how much to the summer vacation, "he continued.
BEWARE OF RETURN TO SCHOOL
What Jüni did verify is that the variation between countries is explained by the interventions of the health authorities, with the closing of schools, the prevention of large concentrations and the measures of physical distance between people.
"The problem in Spain is that this happened when spring started there and people go out more. That is why the prevention of large concentrations is so important. Spain was one of those unfortunate countries where the weather was a little too pleasant when this happened, "he said.
Jüni warned against the reopening of schools in the hope that the use of masks will suffice to eliminate the transmission of COVID-19.
"We do not know if the masks in the general population and especially among children will work. No one knows. If you want to reopen the schools, you need a certain number of measures. The first is to ensure that transmission in the community is already low. That is very important, "he said.
"Second, it must be ensured that absolutely no large concentrations occur in schools. The schoolyard has all the ingredients for failure. Going to recess all at the same time is a mistake. It takes a small number of students per class and it would be It is recommended that teachers go to a few classes, "he continued.
"And you have to be sure that the ventilation is very good. Because the masks, even if they work for the droplets, do not serve for the aerosol, the really small particles that float in the air. And young children are very difficult to control "It would be better to start with older children, try to implement all social distancing measures well with them. And then younger children," he said.
"We have to be careful about this. We don't want this to backfire. In many jurisdictions it is pretty well controlled. Let's not make a mistake now," he said.