Coronavirus: hot and humid weather kills the virus – can it really stop COVID-19 outbreaks?

Many people believe that tropical climates such as in Thailand and neighboring regions It is one of the factors contributing to the COVID-19 outbreak. Not as severe as in Europe and North America in winter.

There are several recent scientific studies supporting this idea. Causing the countries in the cold regions to bring together hope that The plague situation will improve as the warm season arrives. However Experts have warned that the new coronavirus may be unresponsive to changes in weather and seasons. As many people expected

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Why is hot and humid weather better inhibiting viruses?

Past studies on various strains of the coronavirus, particularly the SARS virus, which is a close relative of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Indicates that these viruses have epidemic behavior that change with the seasons. In the UK, the outbreak is more severe during the months of December to April each year. Which is during the winter with cool and dry weather Such pandemic schemes are similar to many influenza.

Sunlight promotes the synthesis of vitamin D , an essential building block in the body’s immune system.

A recent study by the Chinese medical faculty, published in the online Library of Medicine,, identified temperature, wind speed and relative humidity in each area. Is associated with the epidemic rate of COVID-19. Another report, conducted by epidemiological research and consulting firm Ausvet, pointed out that regions with higher temperatures found lower cases of COVID-19 infection.

The team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Or MIT of the US An article published in the online journal SSRN reveals 90% of COVID-19 infections. Occurs in regions with temperature 3-17 degrees Celsius, absolute humidity 4-9 grams per cubic meter. While the country with an average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius or higher And the absolute humidity is greater than 9 grams per cubic meter. In fact, fewer than 6% of cases are infected worldwide.

Although it seems that most of the findings give hope to those who have waited for the summer to arrive. So that more warm and humid climate will automatically ward off the epidemic. But most of these findings are preliminary studies conducted by comparing historical data of other coronavirus strains as well as predictive computer models. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak Which is an emerging disease It hasn’t happened long enough to tell the difference in each season.

However, there are some scientific explanations that might answer that. Why is hot and humid climate making it harder to spread than the cold and dry climate?

High humidity This caused the virus particles to be enveloped in moisture and dropped to the ground quickly.

The corona virus is covered with a fat layer. This makes it more responsive to temperature changes than other viruses. In that cold weather The shelled fat will harden and harden. This helps to better protect virus particles while outside the body of the organism. Compared to being in hot weather the fat shell will be destroyed.

The longer the virus can remain intact in the external environment. The more likely they are, the more likely they are to spread and infect people.

Another important reason is Winters in the northern and western hemispheres are often blurred without sun. This makes people deficient in vitamin D (D), an essential building block for the body’s immune system. Cool, dry air also decreases the amount of sticky mucus that the body produces, coining the lungs and airways. Making it unable to prevent virus attacks by default.

People in the Western world should not put much of their hope in curbing the epidemic in the summer.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in the United States, said that “the high humidity conditions are the same.” This causes viral particles that are suspended in the air because an infected person coughs or sneezes. Is wrapped in a very small mist Which this droplets will cause the virus to fall rapidly to the ground Does not drift for as long as in dry and completely still climates. Making viruses in humid climates more difficult to spread “

A pandemic could cause COVID-19 Independent of the season

Despite the many supporting factors that the novel coronavirus may not be able to spread as heavily in the tropics. But Thailand and its neighbors Including the people of the Western world who are eagerly waiting for summer to come The hope of a pandemic should not be placed in much of the climate.

Prof. Jan Albert, an infectious disease control specialist at the Swedish Institute of Karolinska. Commented on this matter “Although most of the coronavirus outbreaks in the past have been mitigated by itself. And eventually become a seasonal epidemic But pandemic viruses do not always follow this pattern. For example, the Spanish flu pandemic happened during the summer. Despite the fact that most influenza pandemic occurs in winter. “

“What remains in question is Susceptibility of the COVID-19 virus For that season Will this affect its ability to spread during the pandemic period? We still may not know for sure “

“The severity of the epidemic is not dependent on the weather alone. The virus is transmitted from person to person. Causing other seasonal factors such as human activity to have an important effect.

 For example, the measles outbreak is the beginning of the school term for students. The spread of COVID-19 From Wuhan to other Chinese provinces, it happened when people returned home during the Lunar New Year, ”Prof Albert said.

In addition, a number of scientists point out that The case of the COVID-19 outbreak In the tropics Although it occurs less often in cold regions But there are still many infections occurring. And the new coronavirus may not be as susceptible as one might expect, depending on weather and seasons.

Harvard University School of Medicine results in the United States Found that the spread of COVID-19 In the cool and dry areas of China such as Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. It is similar to the epidemic rates in the tropics such as Guangxi Zhuang and Singapore. Which this information suggests Alone in hot and humid weather alone May not stop or mitigate the outbreak of the new corona virus.