Pathogen appears to spread fastest at 8.72 degrees Celsius, so countries in colder climes should ‘adopt the strictest control measures’, according to researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong province. But head of WHO’s health emergencies programme says it is ‘a false hope’ to think Covid-19 will just disappear like the flu.
The virus that causes Covid-19 may have a temperature sweet spot at which it spreads fastest, a new study has suggested, but experts say people should avoid falling into the trap of thinking it will react to seasonal changes in exactly the same way as other pathogens, like those that cause the common cold or influenza.
The study, by a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the capital of south China’s Guangdong province, sought to determine how the spread of the new coronavirus might be affected by changes in season and temperature.
Published last month, though yet to be peer-reviewed, the report suggested heat had a significant role to play in how the virus behaves.
“Temperature could significantly change Covid-19 transmission,” it said. “And there might be a best temperature for viral transmission.”
The “virus is highly sensitive to high temperature”, which could prevent it from spreading in warmer countries, while the opposite appeared to be true in colder climes, the study said.
As a result, it suggested that “countries and regions with a lower temperature adopt the strictest control measures”.
Many national governments and health authorities are banking on the coronavirus losing some of its potency as the weather warms up, as is generally the case with similar viruses that cause the common cold and influenza.