KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The novel coronavirus may transmit fastest at a certain cold temperature, a study found, but experts say people shouldn’t assume that it will automatically subside in summer.
South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported a study from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, that found Covid-19 is “highly sensitive to high temperature”, which could prevent a spread in warmer nations, but the opposite appeared to be true in colder countries.
Thus, the research reportedly suggested that “countries and regions with a lower temperature adopt the strictest control measures”.
“Temperature could significantly change Covid-19 transmission,” the study was quoted saying.
“And there might be a best temperature for viral transmission.”
The Guangzhou study looked at each confirmed Covid-19 infection globally between January 20 and February 4, including in over 400 Chinese cities and regions. These were then compared against January’s meteorological data from across China and the capitals in each affected country.
SCMP reported that the analysis showed a rise in case numbers in line with average temperatures up to a peak of 8.72 degrees Celsius, and then dropped.
“Temperature … has an impact on people’s living environments … [and] could play a significant role in public health in terms of epidemic development and control,” said the study.
A separate research from a group of researchers, including an epidemiologist from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, however reportedly found that sustained transmission of Covid-19 could happen in various weathers, from cold and dry provinces in China to tropical places like Singapore.
“Weather alone, [such as an] increase of temperature and humidity as the spring and summer months arrive in the Northern Hemisphere, will not necessarily lead to declines in case counts without the implementation of extensive public health interventions,” said the study published last month.
Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies programme, reportedly cautioned against assumptions that the coronavirus epidemic would subside in summer.
“We have to assume the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread,” he said.
“It’s a false hope to say, yes, it will disappear like the flu … we can’t make that assumption. And there is no evidence.”