It’s the coronavirus news that may provide some hope. A new study finds that warmer weather appears to slow the spread of the virus down, but it won’t completely stop it.
Scientists have been watching how (and where) the coronavirus has been spreading. They determined that between Jan. 21 and Jan. 23 the infection was more contagious in northern China. At the time, this part of China was experiencing low temperatures and low relative humidity, compared to warmer, more humid cities along the southeast coast.
But now, more scientific finds evidence that the coronavirus may spread faster in cold climates.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that a majority of COVID-19 transmissions that occurred happened in regions with low temperatures — between 37.4 and 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
But regions with average temperatures above 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit currently account for fewer than 6% of global cases.
In the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has been developing more slowly in warmer states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas compared to New York, Washington state and Ohio, for example.
At least two other studies had similar results, including one conducted by Chinese researchers at Beihang University and Tsinghua University.
All of the findings back what scientists believed based on earlier coronaviruses: they seem to last longer in colder weather.
A recent study out of China suggests that the pathogen appears to spread fastest at 8.72 degrees Celsius, or about 48 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s right around the average temperature in Ohio in March. It’s also why countries in colder climates are adopting the strictest control measures. But experts caution this novel coronavirus may not necessarily go away in warmer weather and more research is needed.
Researchers concede they see similar patterns with the flu.
Another very small study finds that the outcomes for women who give birth after testing positive for coronavirus are good.
The results of the study appear in “The Lancet.” Researchers say the study included all pregnant women with COVID-19 who were admitted to Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 8. A total of seven women, whose average age is 32, were studied. Almost all of them had a fever, while other symptoms included a cough or shortness of breath, but all of the symptoms were mild.
Researchers describe the outcomes for all the women and their babies as “very good.” They credit the outcomes to active management of the infection before, during and after the women gave birth.
It’s important to note, that although the results are encouraging, this study is very small and more studies will be needed to back the findings up.
Although the results of these studies may shed some light on ways to combat the infection, even for some of the most vulnerable people, the findings don’t change what is your best defense against this coronavirus outbreak: good handwashing and social distancing.
You must keep washing your hands regularly. Remember to use water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. This will not only help to prevent coronavirus but any other infections you may come across throughout the year.
Coughing and sneezing will spread the infection. The droplets go airborne and land on the people around an infected person or on a nearby surface. You can also be exposed if contaminants land on your hands (or you touch a contaminated surface) and you then touch your eyes or mouth.
Health officials say the way to stop the spread and bring a faster end to the coronavirus pandemic is to follow stay-at-home orders and practice good hygiene. It’s the best way to “flatten the curve.”
If you think you're experiencing coronavirus symptoms, MyLinks has created a patient self-assessment tool that you can use. This online test for coronavirus is based on guidelines from The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. It will help you to understand what you should do next if you're showing signs of COVID-19.
The tool is free, but it should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare provider.
If you think you have coronavirus and already have an appointment to see your doctor, call your doctor’s office ahead of your visit and tell them that you have or may have coronavirus. This will help your doctor’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. And when you go in for your appointment, it’s recommended you do wear a mask, again, to keep from exposing others to the virus.
If you have questions about the coronavirus or think you might be sick, you can contact your doctor. Part of staying healthy during the pandemic is eating healthy. Although we may not be as busy as we typically are, our guide “Eating Healthy on a Busy Schedule” is full of tips you can use any day, at any time. It contains valuable information about your diet, including what you need to know about portion sizes. Here’s a hint: they’re often smaller than you think.