With more than 1,00,000 cases worldwide and over thousands of deaths reported in March 2020, the whole world is enveloped in dread and confusion. There are a lot of questions around the coronavirus like- its symptoms, precautions, medicines, and many others.
Many have put the symptoms of corona on the same lines as the winter influenza, which again is a massive underestimation of this pandemic and its capabilities to cause harm and even fatality to humans. But the comparison and also some similarities with the common flu shed some light on a valid question, is the coronavirus weather dependent? Or, more importantly, will warm temperatures help in fighting the novel coronavirus? Will the arrival of warmer spring help in the containment of the disease and its transmission?
With all the data and studies until now, it is hard to say anything for certain. But it is expected on a general basis and the behaviour of viruses in context to temperature, that the arrival of the warm weather in the northern hemisphere may bring a level of a stall to the spread of coronavirus and the covid-19 disease. This is, though, no conclusion in itself and is more of an expectation based on the fact that viruses, especially the flu, spreads more vehemently in cold and dry weather.
The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 also broke out in the winters and ended by July. But, the thing to note is that the number of cases peaked in the warmer month of May, and that gives out a solid perspective on the possibility that the containment was little due to the weather and mostly because of the healthcare intervention. Like the Coronavirus (covid-19), SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was also caused by a type of coronavirus, and taking cues from the past outbreak does give us the idea that we should not expect the arrival of spring as the end of the novel coronavirus.
In the Indian context, the outbreak doesn’t seem to be as massive as China or Europe. A few experts are taking the current scenario in the narrative of whether the Novel Coronavirus is less transmissible in warmer conditions. Again, it turns out that it is too early to make any sort of solid assumption, and the number of cases in India is still far from its peak. One thing to be noted is that even if the virus is sensitive to heat and warmth, it will only affect its transmissibility through the surface, as in the half-life of the virus decreases several folds in conditions above room temperature. This virus can live up to 2-3 days on surfaces like plastic and steel, and an increase in temperature is likely to break the virus’s protein structure. But, when it comes to human transmission of the covid-19, which takes place through the exchange of droplets from coughing and sneezing, the change in weather and temperature will be of less to no significance.
Irrespective of how the Novel Coronavirus behaves in warm conditions, the best precaution and chance of containment is through personal hygiene and more aggressive healthcare intervention. Washing hands often, using sanitizers or rubbing alcohol in palms, avoiding going in public places, and taking care of your coughing etiquette is the best way to ensure health and safety of yours and others around.
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*Sourced from: www.mohfw.gov.in