WASHINGTON — Question:
Will the coronavirus die out when it gets warm?
Not yet known. Other viruses do wane in the warmer months, but since this latest strain is so new, there's no way to say for sure, according to five infectious disease experts.
- Dr. Linda Nabha - Infectious Disease Specialist
- Dr. David M. Margolis - Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Suman R. Das, Ph.D. - Departments of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease at Vanderbilt University
- Andrea J. Sant, Ph.D. - Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical School
- Jesse Bloom Ph.D. - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
With the spread of the latest strain of the coronavirus, there's been a lot of speculation that it may disappear on its own, as warm weather returns.
On social media, many shared this hope.
"The warm weather will stop the Coronavirus," wrote one user. "And the game is over."
The claim has also been made by President Donald Trump.
"By April - you know - in theory, when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away," he said at a rally on February, 10.
To find out if this claim is true, the Verify Team reached out to five infectious disease experts.
"The Short answer is we don't know," said Dr. Linda Nabha, who practices in Washington, D.C.
Nabha said that other viruses, like the flu, do wane in the warmer months. However, it's impossible to say with complete certainty that this new strain will do the same.
"If this virus mimics other viruses that we've seen," she said. "It will likely wane... We can hope and we can prepare."
All five experts agreed with this assessment. Dr. David Margolis, from UNC-Chapel Hill, thought this line of thinking can be dangerous.
"This sort of hopefully positive information is somewhere between useless and harmful," he said. "As it would tend to allow people to respond less vigorously and appropriately to the current situation, which is clearly serious. The point should not be 'don't worry, warmer days will be here soon.' It should be: Do The Right Thing Now."
Jesse Bloom, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, put it simply:
"Short answer is we don't know," he said. "And certainly should not count on it."
The World Health Organization weighed in online and says that you can catch COVID-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.
"Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19," WHO wrote online. "Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees does not prevent the coronavirus (COVID-19)"