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Coronavirus: Impact of warm weather ‘not certain’

The arrival of the spring, and even the summer, may not slow down the epidemic at all. Credit: Pexels

As the temperatures are rising, it remains unclear whether warm and sunny weather will help fight the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, said the Federal Public Health Service during its daily press briefing.

Experts have stated that these viruses seem to prefer colder temperatures, and U.S. President Donald Trump said in February that “when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away,” but the impact of warm weather on the spread of the virus and the evolution of the epidemic is unsure, according to professor Steven Van Gucht.

“It is true that for many respiratory viruses, sunny and warm weather usually prevents them from spreading easily,” said professor Steven Van Gucht. “However, we are dealing with a completely new virus now, and we are not certain whether the weather will also have an effect,” he added.

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In general, people are less often in close proximity in the spring and summer than in the winter, when people tend to lump together in one room, increasing the risk of infection via physical contact and coughing, according to Bert Niesters, a virologist at the UMCG hospital in Groningen. However, with the current lockdown measures urging everyone to stay at home as much as possible, this will not be the case.

“There are also many other factors involved, of which we do not know what they will do,” Niesters said to De Morgen. “For example, most people have not yet built up immunity to the new coronavirus,” making them more susceptible to infection.

The arrival of the spring, and even the summer, may not slow down the epidemic at all, according to Van Gucht. “Keeping your distance, however, definitely will. Respecting the social distancing measures and having good hand hygiene are very important in the fight against the virus,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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