US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Sunlight can kill coronavirus and can be used to treat patients with COVID-19. Or maybe not. These statements were made at a briefing on April 24 by US President Donald Trump.
The American leader cited a study recently conducted by the US Department of Homeland Security. It stated that in the air, viral particles begin to break down even at a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees with a low humidity of 20%, and if the humidity is increased to 80%, then at the same temperatures the virus will die on various surfaces in a couple of minutes.
At the same time, at the end of March, the head of the Russian Ministry of Health Mikhail Murashko made a similar rhetoric: “The sun really prevents the spread of coronavirus, but not at the temperatures that are today.”
Specialists of the World Health Organization are not so optimistic. Back in early March, the WHO Executive Director for Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, at a media briefing, slightly cooled the ardor of those who believe in the harmful properties of the sun’s rays to the virus: “You should not hope that the virus just picks up and disappears in the summer. We have no reason to think so.”
In fact, the WHO site has long had a section on “myths about coronavirus.” At the beginning of the pandemic, he was small and debunked theories about eating garlic to protect against “covide” and drinking alcohol for the same purpose. Now this section has grown and even continues to be updated. And the blame for everything is the avalanche-like stream of false information that is spreading, it seems, no more slowly than the virus itself.
At number one on the list of myths are 5G networks that “transmit the virus.” The story with them is really quite interesting, but the WHO, it seems, did not quite correctly grasp the people‘s claim to 5G. It was aimed primarily at the radiation emitted by the towers, and at its negative effect on the body as a whole and on the immune system in particular. This supposedly increased the risk of getting sick. But in fact, even these arguments were groundless.
But myth number two is now – the sun as a killer of the virus. “Exposure to the sun or temperatures above 25 degrees DOES NOT PROTECT against COVID -19,” WHO writes in bold.
“You can become infected regardless of the weather outside the window. In hot countries, there are also infected people,” the report also said.
The section has a separate paragraph on countries with a humid climate: “Current research shows that the virus is transmitted in absolutely any region, including in a hot and humid climate. There is also no reason to believe that a cold climate kills coronavirus.”
But why then all these statements about the saving sun? “In fact, there is something to it, because most viruses, including coronavirus, are killed by ultraviolet light. The only question is how much light is needed for this. It is no coincidence that viral infections are on the decline in the summer, ”Vitaliy Zverev, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the newspaper VZGLYAD the head of the department of microbiology, virology and immunology of the medical and preventive faculty of the First Moscow State Medical University named after IM Sechenov.
But he added that it is unlikely that the epidemic can be defeated only by ultraviolet radiation. And this is a key point, since it is one thing to create ideal conditions for the death of the virus in terms of temperature and humidity, and another to evaluate its spread in the moving conditions of the earth’s climate.
So far, studies of the relationship between weather and the spread of the virus can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
The first notable work was published at the end of March by two scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raising the statistics, they found that as of March 22, 90% of cases of infection occurred in countries where the temperature at that time was from 3 to 17 degrees Celsius. Assuming that the climate can somehow influence the speed of spread, they came to the conclusion that in countries with hot and humid air, the epidemic is really capable of slowing down.
Around the same numbers, two Chinese studies came out with the same conclusions. Scientists analyzed the daily increase in the number of cases in several dozen cities in the Middle Kingdom and evaluated these indicators through the prism of temperature and humidity. It turned out that with humidity ranging from 67% to 85%, each increase in temperature by one degree by 36–57% reduced the number of infected people.
“This result is consistent with the fact that high temperature and humidity reduce the spread of influenza and SARS. And it points out that the advent of summer and the rainy season in the Northern Hemisphere may slow down the transmission of coronavirus “- considered the authors of one study.
In addition, there are various works in which scientists described the effects of extreme temperatures on SARS-CoV-2. The French, for example, concluded that the virus dies in 15 minutes at 92 degrees Celsius, while the Chinese claim that it ceases to be contagious after half an hour at 56 degrees, and at 70 degrees it will take only five minutes. But all these are just ideal conditions.
As for the works that affected the influence of climate on the epidemic in the country, here we are not talking about a complete victory over the virus due to temperature and humidity. “Although experimental studies show the relationship between high temperatures and humidity and SARS-CoV-2 survival, there are many more external factors that affect levels in the real world,” the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in an April statement. who also analyzed recent work on the topic.
It really is. Reviewers of published studies noted that the authors did not take into account the logistic features of the regions, measures taken by local authorities, the number and quality of tests performed, and cultural characteristics of the nation, in the end.
Therefore, residents of warm countries are definitely not worth rejoicing. And the citizens of Iran, Portugal, India, and Spain and Italy, in general, are unlikely to seriously take statements about the sun as salvation.
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