American scientists said that sunlight and moisture help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. As a result of this, it is hoped that the spread of Covid-19 may weaken during the summer.
But since the document itself has not yet been released for review, it is difficult for independent experts to comment on how reliable its methodology was. And doctors say that you can get coronavirus regardless of how warm and sunny the weather is outside.
Heat and moisture against coronavirus
A few days ago, William Bryan, a science and technology adviser to the Secretary of the Homeland Security Department, told reporters at the White House that government scientists have discovered ultraviolet rays have a strong effect on the pathogen. This conclusion gives hope that the spread of coronavirus can weaken during the summer.
"Our most striking observation today is the powerful effect of sunlight on the destruction of the virus both on the surface and in the air. We observed a similar effect with both temperature and humidity. An increase in temperature and humidity, or both, is usually less favorable for the virus," said Bryan.
Bryan shared a slide that summarizes the key findings from an experiment at the National Center for Biological Defense Analysis and Reaction in Maryland. He showed that the half-life of the virus was 18 hours when the temperature ranged from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) with 20 percent humidity on a non-porous surface. These are, for example, surfaces such as door handles and stainless steel.
But the half-life was reduced to six hours when humidity increased to 80%, and to two minutes when sunlight was added to the equation. When the virus was aerosolized, that is, suspended in air, the half-life was one hour at a humidity of 20% and a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees Celsius. In the presence of sunlight, this value decreased to one and a half minutes.
Bryan concluded that summer conditions "will create an environment in which transmission of coronavirus can be reduced."
Viruses are thought to decompose faster on hotter surfaces because the protective layer of fat that surrounds them dries faster.
Disinfectants and alcohol
Then Bryan informed that the bleach would kill the coronavirus in five minutes, and isopropyl alcohol in 30 seconds. In turn, US President Donald Trump asked Bryan to find out how to use ultraviolet rays or disinfectants to treat people with coronavirus.
“Let’s suppose we illuminate the body with a huge light, whether it is an ultraviolet or very powerful light, and I think you said that it has not been tested, and you are going to test it. Suppose you can introduce light into the body,” Trump said to Bryan.
The president also invited the official to conduct experiments with a disinfectant, to look for a way in which this substance can be used to defeat coronavirus in a sick body.
Doctors immediately responded to such suggestions, recalling that disinfectants are extremely dangerous if they are taken orally or inhaled. They can cause a reaction even when in contact with the skin, not to mention the eyes or other mucous membranes.
Doctors emphasize that products such as bleaches perfectly disinfect surfaces. They can be used to clean surfaces that are most often touched by hands. You can also use substances with a high percentage of alcohol. Ingestion of such drugs by injection is not only deadly but also hardly effective in controlling Covid-19.
The final victory is still far
William Bryan believes that although transmission of coronavirus can be reduced in summer, a reduction in a spread does not mean that the pathogen will be completely destroyed.
This point of view was supported by other scientists who warned at the beginning of April that the Covid-19 virus is a completely new causative agent of infection and people have not yet had the opportunity to develop immunity to it. In this regard, it is likely that this virus will continue to spread at its current speed despite the onset of summer.
“I’m sure that seasonal changes in the behavior of the virus will play a role in the nature of its spread,” said virologist Michael Skinner at Imperial College London. “The season change may have some impact, but it cannot be seen as an alternative to self-isolation. "
At the same time, doctors are more categorical in this matter. So, the Center for Public Health of Ukraine believes that Covid-19 can be infected no matter how warm and sunny the weather is. It is noted that in countries with a hot climate, the spread of the disease is also observed.
And WHO Executive Director for Health Emergencies Michael Ryan said at a media briefing that "there is no reason to hope that the virus will just disappear in the summer. Today there is no reason to think so."