Washington: The coronavirus tends to lose its strength quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat and humidity, US researchers said Thursday. They also said that the rate of infection could steadily decrease in all parts of the world as temperatures rise.
The researchers belonging to the US government have said that the virus survives best indoors and in dry conditions. However, it loses potency when temperatures and humidity increase, more so when it is exposed to sunlight. This information was disclosed by William Bryan. He is the acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.
“The virus dies quickest in the presence of direct sunlight,” Bryan told mediapersons at the White House, Thursday evening. However, this is nothing new that the US scientists have said. Researchers in China and a few others countries earlier had also said that the COVID-19 virus loses its strength in hot and humid weather. US researchers are hoping that the coronavirus will replicate the behaviour of other respiratory diseases like influenza. These are less contagious in warm weather.
Donald Trump takes credit
President Donald Trump was quick to jump on the opportunity. He said that he had first made such a prediction. He claimed vindication for previously suggesting that the coronavirus might recede in summer.
“I once mentioned that maybe the virus does go away with heat and light. People didn’t like that statement that much,” Trump was quoted as saying at the briefing.
Reopening of economy
In a new development, it has been learnt that 16 states in the United States are planning to restart their economies. They will also relax restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The states of Georgia and South Carolina have allowed some businesses to reopen this week. However, the decision has been criticised by the US Health Department. It has said that such a move could lead to more deaths. This is because the states have not done have enough tests. So they do not have the exact number of people who are affected by the disease.
The Trump administration has said states should wait until they have enough evidence that rates of infection drop. The infection rate should at least be observed for two weeks before states relax rules.
More than 8,74,000 people in the United States have been infected by the coronavirus. The death toll at 49,600 is nearing the 50,000-mark.