SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee told the White House this week that it doesn’t look like coronavirus will go away once the weather warms up.
President Trump has claimed that “when it gets a little warmer [the virus] miraculously goes away.”
In their letter to the White House, members of the prestigious committee said data is mixed on whether coronavirus spreads as easily in warm weather as it does in cold weather, but that it might not matter much given that so few people in the world are immune to coronavirus, CNN reports.
At last check, more than 432,000 cases and 14,817 deaths have been reported in the US, where life has changed dramatically in the last few weeks as many states have issued stay-at-home orders and where social distancing remains an integral part in reducing the impact of the virus.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who is not a member of the NAS committee, said, “Although we can hope weather will make some contribution to the reduction in transmission, we can’t rely on it alone. We have to continue to employ social distancing and other measures to reduce transmission.“
President Trump has said coronavirus will recede with warmer weather.
“A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April,” he said on February 10 in remarks to the nation’s governors.
Trump repeated the claim later that day at a political rally in New Hampshire.
“Looks like in April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away,” he said.
The letter from the NAS scientists notes that some laboratory studies have shown reduced transmission of the virus under warmer and more humid conditions, but that it’s still a concern.
“Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed,” according to the letter.