Weather impacts on coronavirus transmission

As Seen on 2 NEWS


Temperature, humidity, and solar ultraviolet radiation can increase coronavirus decay.

According to research from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate the virus is least stable outside. The more sunshine, the faster it decays.

A calculator on the DHS website estimates the airborne decay of SARS-CoV-2.

“We’ve created these calculators that the public can use so they can understand how various environmental conditions like heat humidity and sunlight can impact the natural decay of the virus,” John Verrico said. “So, that they can make some decisions about what they do.”

Verrico is the spokesman for the S&T. He said the research and development are looks at all the scientific research already out there, and creates questions that are still unanswered.

“We have some unique capabilities in the research area where we can help to try to solve some of those problems,” Verrico said, “to fill in those knowledge gaps and among those was the environmental impacts.”

The department found temperature and relative humidity caused a minimal decay of the virus that causes COVID-19. An increase in simulated sunlight caused a rapid decay of the virus.

“We still remind people to take all the precautions for social distancing,” Verrico said. “Wearing masks, wearing gloves frequent hand washing, all of those things are still important, but you can reduce your chances of exposure by paying attention to some of the environmental factors.”

According the calculator 99% of the virus can decay in 12 minutes with an environmental temperature of 86 degrees, 70% relative humidity and a UV index of 10.

“One thing to keep in mind,” Verrico said, “and this is the caution that we put out there, is that we don’t know how much virus has wound up on a surface. We don’t know how much a person with the virus sheds when they cough, when they breathe, when they touch things. Without knowing what the starting amount is we only know that the reduction happens.”

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