Coronavirus Cases To Decline in Summer? Transmission Will Continue
With the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) confirming over 300 individuals testing positive for COVID-19, some news reports have sparked the debate whether countries like India may witness decline in infections with the onset of summers.
In an e-mail response to FIT, Prof K Srinath Reddy, president of PHFI (Public Health Foundation of India) said that coronavirus does gets impacted by variation in temperature but this behaviour is restricted only to certain strains of microorganism.
In a recent opinion piece for BloombergQuint, David Fickling wrote that ‘temperature and humidity do make a difference in the ability of the virus to infect large numbers.’
Citing example of Iran, which ‘accounts for 90 percent of Coronavirus cases in middle east,’ David Fickling explains in his piece how plateau-like geographical location makes way for winters similar to that witnessed in other northerly countries.
Going by that logic, India, where temperatures range between 38 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius between April and June, should be less susceptible to infections.
However, Prof Srinath Reddy, explains that survival of the virus will also depend on the length of route taken in transmission.
“Human-to-human transmission by the droplet route is less likely to be affected by heat if the virus flies from human through a short route of travel. However, survival time of the virus on surfaces (furniture, utensils etc) may be more temperature sensitive.”Prof K Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI
Dr Sunil Arora, Secretary of FORDA (Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association) is of the opinion that the behaviour of virus outside human body is ‘unpredictable’.
Whether there is a direct link between temperature and life span of virus, Dr Arora says:
According to some researchers working with the World Health Organisation, though the virus does not have an immunity of its own, it can manage to survive via transmission from one individual to another.
A recent study on COVID-19 by some scholars in China has concluded that ‘high temperature and humidity have potential to reduce transmission.’
Responding to a question on whether summer season that usually witnesses lesser no. of viral infections will help in containing coronavirus cases in India, Dr Reddy told The Quint:
“We have to hope that the COVID-19 virus too gives us that opportunity while we determinedly strive to curtail transmission before that through border lockdown and internal shutdown measures. Summer can also increase transmission as families travel during vacations but the continued limitations on travel will obviate that risk.”Prof K Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI
FORDA Secretary, Dr Sunil Arora, concurs with that notion with an emphasis on quarantine, ‘Measures must be taken at community level to stop the spread.’
(Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated)