Hot summer could curb the spread of Covid-19, says top epidemiologist

Hot summer could curb the spread of Covid-19 as virus particles spread in water will evaporate in sunny weather, says top epidemiologist

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A long, hot summer could help curb the spread of Covid-19, according to a top epidemiologist.

Professor Keith Neal of Nottingham University said some virus particles were spread in minuscule specks of water that would evaporate in sunny weather.

Stripped of moisture, the particles infect people for a much shorter time and surfaces are less likely to be contaminated.

A long, hot summer could help curb the spread of Covid-19, according to Professor Keith Neal of Nottingham University (file photo)

‘Viruses don’t like getting dried out because it disrupts the fatty “envelope” that surrounds the protein shell,’ said Prof Neal. He added that very strong ultra-violet light also degraded the virus, although it was unclear if summer sunlight was intense enough.

However, the breezes of recent days may help disperse the virus. This matters because the number of particles a person is exposed to – called the viral load – is crucial.

Most people’s immune systems will cope with a few dozen virus particles, but become overwhelmed when exposed to hundreds or thousands of them.

Another reason that summer may help curb the virus is that people tend to socialise farther apart when they are outside.

The breezes of recent days may help disperse the virus. This matters because the number of particles a person is exposed to – called the viral load – is crucial (file photo)

Prof Neal said: ‘There’s more inherent social distancing.

‘Outside, if you’re within a metre of me, then you’re invading my personal space.’

However, he warned: ‘A warm summer won’t be any good for the virus, but how much damage it will do, we don’t know. It won’t get rid of it completely.’

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