Rumour has it that as the warm weather arrives in the UK and Europe the Coronavirus spread will be halted or at least drastically decline.
The basis for this rumour is the fact that seasonal flu declines in the warmer months due to 3 reasons:
(1) UV light kills off the flu and it is more stable in cold/dry conditions
(2) More people are indoors in winter which accelerates the spread of viruses
(3) We are likely to be deficient in Vitamin D in winter which weakens our immune systems.
So the question is – will the warmer month’s stop the Coronavirus spread like it does with flu
The answer for the moment is – we don’t yet know for certain!
There have been approximately 13 scientific studies to date exploring the effect of temperature on the spread of Coronavirus and the results are as follows:
– The first study found no difference in Coronavirus spread rates between warm and cold regions by studying China, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, based on weather reports and data on covid-19 incidence between 23 January and 10 February.
– The second study concluded that the ideal temperature range for spreading the virus was 13-24 degrees Celsius (with 19 degrees Celsius lasting about 60 days) and that above 24 degrees Celsius halted the spread.
– The remaining 11 studies seem to conclude (with health warnings) that higher temperatures will slow the spread of the virus.
It will be interesting to look at some of the southern hemisphere countries over the coming months – like Australia, Brazil, South Africa and New Zeland to see if cases rise as they enter the winter months.
My personal hunch is that as temperatures rise above 24/25 degrees Celsius (at least a string of days) the number of new cases should drop. For us living in the UK, Ireland etc. this would mean July and August. If self isolation and social distancing lasts until the end of May or early June this should also play a part.
Unfortunately if I am right – as we descend into Autumn and winter in late 2020, and the temperatures drop back down again, we may see another spike in cases of Coronavirus in the UK and Ireland (similar to what was observed with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic).