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DUBAI — The effect of sunlight, heat and the weather on the coronavirus is being studied, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health Spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Al-Abulaali said on Sunday.
A reporter during the COVID-19 daily updates press conference asked: “Does exposure to sunlight help a coronavirus-infected person overcome the disease? And does it help prevent infection in healthy people?”
The spokesman replied: “To this day, the direct effect of hot weather on the coronavirus and whether it reduces its activity, incubation period and spread remains an area of study and there are no definite conclusions yet.”
“Very high temperatures which can be used in sterilizing tools has its benefits. But a human’s exposure to the sun’s heat can be harmful. Therefore, not every opinion or rumor should be followed.”
There has been a lot of debate on the effect of high temperatures and hot weather on the coronavirus in the scientific community.
Researchers in France found that the coronavirus can survive exposure to high temperatures for prolonged periods of time, but that COVID-19 was deactivated when heated at a temperature of 92 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
A study by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in April: “Although experimental studies show a relationship between higher temperatures and humidity levels, and reduced survival of SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory, there are many other factors besides environmental temperature, humidity, and survival of the virus outside of the host, that influence and determine transmission rates among humans in the ‘real world’.”
Another study by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, demonstrated that COVID-19 data showed a “lower growth rate” in countries with warmer humid climates and said: “Based on the current data on the spread of 2019-nCoV, we hypothesize that the lower number of cases in tropical countries might be due to warm-humid conditions, under which the spread of the virus might be slower as has been observed for other viruses.”
However, they added: “Our results in no way suggest that 2019-nCoV would not spread in warm humid regions and effective public health interventions should be implemented across the world to slow down the transmission of 2019-nCoV.”
US infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had said back in March that lower COVID-19 transmission rates maybe witnessed during the summer weather, but “you don’t want to count on it.” — Al Arabiya English
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