Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has scared everyone and with passing each day number of affected patients is rising in Pakistan. Some have thoughts that rising temperature may slowdown or may stop the spread of this deadly virus. Generally speaking, flu virus is killed by heat, but is this true?
Government of Pakistan has officially confirmed 30 COVID-19 cases in Pakistan (as on 14th March 2020), in which 2 have recovered and sent home. Government authorities put ban on Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 spectators to visit stadium. The Pakistan Cricket Board announced that matches in Karachi will be played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 outbreak.
As the COVID-19 outbreak risk continues to rise, some believe that due to warmer spring weather the spread of coronavirus disease may slow or even stop.
The idea that rising temperature may stop the spread of disease comes largely from the comparison of COVID-19 with other flu viruses. Although, COVID-19 is similar in the way respiratory excretions and contaminated surface and cause typically mild respiratory disease that may further develop to pneumonia which may cause death in case of severity. But the severity of COVID-19 is much higher than flu, moreover the transmissibility is quite greater than other flu viruses.
Usually in flu cases, start of spring season and temperature rising reduces its risk. This seasonal sensitivity of flu virus is thought to be caused by survival of virus in different climates and by seasonal changes in human immune system.
At the same time, flu virus survives better in cold, dry weather, reduced ultraviolet light also help it to survive. And, shorter winters leads to reduction of vitamin D level and melatonin, which affects the performance of human immune system. One another factor that helps spread of flu virus, is more indoor activities during winter than summer season.
Since COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, the health experts are yet not clear whether its transmission will be affected by seasonal variation or temperature. They yet not identified the relation between temperature variation and COVID-19 spread.
With older flu viruses, scientific community have noticed a direct relation. With rising cold and dry weather, the virus typically grows and reproduce. And do not produce well in rising temperature, they don’t proliferate in 30-degree Celsius temperature.
Another proof in favor of rising temperature can kill or stop COVID-19 spread is the study that usually flu droplets stay on surface and survive till 8-10 hours, but hot surface can’t aid the virus to stay longer. So that, more abundant sunlight can reduce survival of virus strains.
Dr. Kamran Malik, a Pakistani microbiologist working at Lanzhou University China, noted that disappearance of COVID-19 virus itself with hot weather is based on the pattern of other influenza virus like SARS-COV. But, COVID-19 itself has no concrete proof of its disappearance with hot weather. A recent research showed that alone temperature rise couldn’t kill the virus. The only way is public awareness and adoption of precautionary measures to fight the spread of COVID-19.