It's Getting Hot Out There. But Rising Temperatures Probably Won't Kill The Coronavirus.
We're asking public health officials and experts to answer your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that this information does not constitute professional medical advice. For questions regarding your own health, always consult a physician.
It's been more than six weeks since Los Angeles County issued its stay-at-home orders, and as the rain disappears from the forecast and temperatures rise, one big question seems to be on people's minds: Can we expect coronavirus cases to decrease now that the weather is warmer?
There is research to suggest things like heat and sunlight light can kill the virus on surfaces, but that's mostly in lab settings. There just isn't enough data to say whether warm weather might snuff it out, or even weaken the virus, says Professor Karin Michels, chair of the department of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
"Now, what we do know is that in the southern hemisphere, they also have the virus and they also have a problem. But in fact, they have less of a problem. Now that may be due to the fact that they have other good strategies of containment. So that's why we are really uncertain."
And, if you think about it, a place like New Orleans is pretty warm, but it unfortunately has more than 27,000 cases of COVID-19.
Some cite the 1918 Spanish Flu, too, which subsided in the summer of 1919, but there are still many unknowns about how this coronavirus behaves. More research needs to be done.
WHAT ABOUT AIR CONDITIONING?
When the heat rises, so does the use of air conditioning. One listener expressed concern over window units, wondering whether the exhaust from those might carry the virus outside if someone on the inside was sick. Michels says that's probably not an issue, but AC could pose a problem if you are in the same room with someone who has the virus.
"Air conditioning can actually help move the droplets that contain the virus. So if you're in the same room with somebody, and you sit not too far apart from each other and someone has the virus...air conditioning can actually become a problem."
So again, the important thing to remember is, if you're caring for someone whose been diagnosed, stay apart from each other, and make sure everyone in the household wears a mask when interacting with one another.