By Emily Drooby
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking in some of the hottest states in the country, even though early indicators suggested that heat and humidity would slow the virus. But in recent weeks, the opposite has happened. Experts are now predicting the weather won’t have any substantial impact.
“It’s not that weather is actually going to affect the virus itself…even if the virus was weakened in the heat and humidity of the outdoor environment, most of the transmission is expected to be indoors,” explained William Nieter, a climate scientist at Saint John’s University.
Sunlight can reduce the transmission of COVID-19, according to experts like William, but not enough to curtail the growing numbers. Factors like population density and social distancing have a much larger effect on how the virus spreads, as do masks.
“Common sense,” he urged. “You don’t want to enter into close proximity with people, with anybody, without your mask.
But lax adherence to the rules could be one of the reasons for the surge in cases. Even so, the death rate is going down or holding steady in many states because of more testing, an uptick in younger people getting infected – who have better odds at survival – and aggressive treatment strategies that are saving lives.
“In addition to the remdesiver and the dexamethasone, we have sera from recovered patients that although is not effective late in the disease, it’s actually beneficial early,” explained infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Tiballi.
He also says the virus may even be weakening, but that we can’t let our guard down, because the next few weeks will be telling.
“It’s usually in the later phase after 2 to 3 weeks that patients actually enter the most dangerous phase where they could lose their life,” he explained, “so actually, we’re kinda coming up on that now.”
And though nobody knows for sure, transmission-curbing behaviors could be reducing the amount of people exposed to the virus while they are out in public, potentially driving down mortality rates.