RUSSIALINK: “Heat, sun unlikely to have strong effect on coronavirus – academy member” – Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) – The activity of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to decrease due to hot summer weather, head of the Department of Microbiology, Virology, and Immunology at the Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University Vitaly Zverev said.

“No, it’s not true. The thing is that it [heat] has almost no effect. I don’t think there will be a strong effect. Look at what’s happening in Brazil: there won’t be any strong effect,” Zverev told Interfax, responding to a question as to whether heat will affect the rate of the spread of coronavirus.

The new coronavirus is spread from human to human, and transmission is predominantly via the respiratory route, he said. This method of virus transmission is most common indoors, not on the street, in sunshine and open air. Therefore, the weather will not contribute considerably to reducing morbidity, Zverev said.

Also, the coming of warm weather in spring and summer did not prevent an increase in the rate of incidence in countries with a hot climate, for example, Brazil, which now has more Covid-19 cases than Russia.

UV radiation, which increases in the summer due to higher solar activity, really does have a destructive effect on the virus, Zverev said. Nevertheless, this applies more to the virus’s survival on surfaces, and there is almost no virus on street surfaces.

“What surfaces is this virus on? Is this virus lying around on the street? It’s not. And that’s strongly exaggerated. Yes, the virus dies faster. But if people observe social distancing, they don’t contract the infection in any way. That is, it’s unlikely. In the metro, yes, infection is possible if there are crowds of people, if there is an infected person. But on the street, no. Generally, people don’t contract this virus outside, only in close contact,” he said.

Air conditioning should not be feared in regard to the coronavirus situation, Zverev said. He said that the probability of the virus entering a building from the street through the air conditioning system is close to zero in any case.

“I believe no one has especially studied this, but I don’t think so. Everything depends on the air conditioner, whether it has air or water cooling. The virus has to get into the air conditioning system, and how does it get there? If there’s an infected person in the apartment, other people will transmit it. But there’s no virus on the street; it’s not flying out there, and people are unlikely to contract it from outside through the air conditioning system,” Zverev said.