As Coronavirus outbreak continues to haunt the strongest economies and health systems of the world, Pakistani authorities are confident to combat it. However, health experts have reached to the conclusion that the weather has nothing to do with the spread of virus. Dr Zafar Mirza, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health, has clarified that the warmer weather will not affect the spread of coronavirus.
We can flatten the curve through mass testing, says Zafar Mirza
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Talking to media outside Supreme Court, Dr Zafar Mirza has rejected the theory that warmer weather slow or stop the spread of coronavirus and said that government is trying to stop the spread of the pandemic.
He also said that deaths and infections of coronavirus in Pakistan are lower than projected numbers.
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It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has reported 58 deaths from novel coronavirus. 4072 people tested positive for the virus out of 42159 coronavirus tests. 2,030 patients have been tested positive for the epidemic in Punjab, 986 in Sindh, 527 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 212 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 206 in Balochistan, 92 in Islamabad and 19 in Azad Kashmir. So far, 467 patients have recovered in the country while 25 are in critical condition.
Research findings on the spread of COVID 19
According to a report published in CNN, the warmer weather may be helpful to counter the disease. “This is a respiratory virus and they always give us trouble during cold weather, for obvious reasons,” Nelson Michael, a leading US military medical researcher, said of the novel coronavirus last week. “We’re all inside, the windows are closed, etcetera, so we typically call that the influenza or the flu season.”
Influenza thrives in cold and dry conditions, which is why winter is flu season for much of the northern hemisphere. Behavioral differences in winter can also have an effect. Michael predicted the coronavirus may behave like the flu and give us “less trouble as the weather warms up,” but, he cautioned, it could come back when the weather gets cold again.
The hope is that, along with radical action by governments and the public to decrease the number of new cases, reduced spread during warmer weather would give health systems space to cope with the initial influx of coronavirus patients, and buy time for a potential vaccine to be developed.
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“This is why it’s really important to understand that a lot of what we’re doing now is getting ourselves ready for what we’re calling the second wave of this,” Michael warned.
There is evidence to suggest the coronavirus does particularly well in certain climates. Some of the worst hit areas around the world — from Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, to Iran, Italy and South Korea — are on more or less the same latitude, with similar temperatures and relative humidity. Researchers at the University of Maryland (UM) have even used this data to attempt to map out other parts of the world that could be at risk of imminent outbreaks.
Though the research remains preliminary, data from the UM study suggests that certain climatic conditions, while not determining whether the virus can survive, may help accelerate its spread.
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However, according to an article published by the World Economic Forum, the weather is unlikely to help fight Coronavirus. “From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 is at home in hot and humid weather, as well as the cold. You could try having a very hot bath – but that wouldn’t do much either, according to the WHO. Your body temperature will not be affected greatly by normal changes in outside temperature, which means the coronavirus will always be comfortable,” it said.
Dr Edsel Maurice Salvana, director at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines, also believes that a direct correlation between warmer countries and the slower spread of the virus “is a myth”.