November 24, 2020

The rise in temperatures will not by itself stop the coronavirus



The rise in temperatures alone will not end COVID-19 infections, as claimed by various hypotheses disseminated in the media and social networks, although studies and scientific articles relate to warmer and wetter climates with a lower incidence of the virus.

This argument has been used by political figures such as the President of the USA. The US, Donald Trump, who last February predicted that the coronavirus would leave “in April”, due to “the heat”, and is repeated in various theories that speculate with the idea that the virus will not have a large incidence in Africa thanks to its weather.

DATA: The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that COVID-19 can be transmitted in humid and warm areas, although different scientists have detected a higher speed of propagation in cold climates. In any case, an increase in temperatures can weaken the expansion of the virus, but it is not enough to stop it.

On its official website, the WHO explains that the scientific evidence obtained to date indicates that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in any area, including those with a hot or humid climate, so, regardless of the climatic conditions, It is necessary to adopt the same protection measures if you live or plan to travel to an area with reported cases of coronavirus.

IT SPREADS MORE IN COLD WEATHERS

The COVID-19 virus does seem to spread more when the weather is colder. This is pointed out by Professor of Epidemiology Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for Dynamics of Communicable Diseases at Harvard University, in an article in which he concludes, however, that the new coronavirus “probably will not” disappear by itself when temperatures rise.

“For the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, we have reason to expect that, like other betacoronaviruses, it will transmit somewhat more efficiently in winter than in summer, although we do not know the responsible mechanisms,” he acknowledges.

Lipsitch specifies in any case that, when temperatures rise, one can only expect “a modest change and not enough to stop the transmission of the coronavirus alone”.

In this sense, he argues that the SARS of 2003, a virus with which it is often compared to the current coronavirus and that caused an epidemic that struck China, Vietnam, Thailand and Canada, among other countries, did not disappear due to natural causes, but due to ” extremely intense public health interventions. ”

LOWER CONTACT INDEX WITH HIGH TEMPERATURES

Also the preliminary results of an investigation carried out in Spain jointly by the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) and the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), reveal “first indications of correlation between meteorological variables and the spread of the disease”.

“In our country, the rate of involvement by coronavirus increases at a lower average temperature,” says this report, published by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, which compares the number of new daily infections with the average temperature corresponding to the same period in all the Autonomous Communities, between March 26 and April 5.

The study by Aemet and ISCIII also analyzes the influence of air humidity. And remember that, according to recent research, it can also affect a lesser spread of the disease.

“High temperatures and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission and spread of the virus, so the arrival of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere could effectively reduce transmission of COVID-19,” the report said.

MIT EXPERTS DOUBT ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE ON VIRUSES

Very cautiously, a study signed by two experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) states instead that “it is unknown whether COVID-19 is affected by the weather.”

They support their skepticism with the argument that, although it is true that the virus is having more incidence in non-tropical nations, it may be due to the fact that more tests are carried out in them, as well as to the greater “global connectivity” presented by “the countries cold of the north ”.

In any case, they insist on making it clear that they do not have sufficient evidence to affirm that the coronavirus will not spread in areas with hot or humid climate.

In this regard, an article on the COVID-19 pandemic in West Africa published on the website of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet makes it clear that in no case is the incidence of coronavirus in this hot and humid region lower: “The first cases occurred later ”, but, once confirmed,“ the expansion was rapid ”.

The authors of this article also warn that “the impact of an epidemic similar to that currently seen in Europe would be devastating in West Africa”, due to the lack of resources in many national health systems and how widespread they are in that region. pathologies such as hypertension or diabetes.

SOURCES:

– World Health Organization (WHO.

– Article “Seasonality of the SARS-CoV-2: Will COVID-19 disappear on its own in warmer climates?”, By Marc Lipsitch. Harvard University.

– “First indications of correlation between meteorological variables and the spread of COVID-19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Spain”. Research by the Spanish Meteorological Agency (Aemet) and the Carlos III Health Institute. Published by the Ministry for Ecological Transition.

– Study “Will the coronavirus pandemic decrease in summer?”, By Qasim Bukhari and Yusuf Jameel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

– Article “Pandemic of COVID-19 in West Africa”. Published in The Lancet medical journal.

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