Opinion

Global warming boosters dismayed: Turns out coronavirus hates heat

Theoretically, if we want to protect ourselves from the coronavirus, we must back away from all the climate change efforts we've been making.
Tue Mar 17, 2020 - 9:02 pm EST
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March 17, 2020 (American Thinker) — For decades, leftists have blamed all actual or potentially harmful events on global warming. They then justify their political initiatives — from socialism to open borders to abortion — as reasonable responses to climate change. Since the Chinese Virus appeared on the scene, however, the world's leftists have fallen silent about global warming. That silence may have to become permanent because it seems that coronavirus hates the heat.

People have speculated that the coronavirus, like most viruses, prefers cold, dry weather to warm, wet weather. Indeed, that common knowledge is what led President Trump to say he believes that the coronavirus will start retreating in April.

Two studies indicate that Trump's instincts may be correct. Four Chinese professors who studied the coronavirus's spread in China concluded that it does retreat in the face of warmer, wetter weather (emphasis added):

This paper investigates how air temperature and humidity influence the transmission of COVID-19. After estimating the serial interval of COVID-19 from 105 pairs of the virus carrier and the infected, we calculate the daily effective reproductive number, R, for each of all 100 Chinese cities with more than 40 cases. Using the daily R values from January 21 to 23, 2020 as proxies of non-intervened transmission intensity, we find, under a linear regression framework for 100 Chinese cities, high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities. One degree Celsius increase in temperature and one percent increase in relative humidity lower R by 0.0383 and 0.0224, respectively. This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the COVID-19.

Another study out of the University of Maryland hypothesizes that the virus exists along a very narrow latitude, one that's cold in the winter and spring (although not as severe as at the poles):

We examined climate data from cities with significant community spread of COVID-19 using ERA-5 reanalysis, and compared to areas that are either not affected, or do not have significant community spread.

Findings: 

To date, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, has established significant community spread in cities and regions along a narrow east west distribution roughly along the 30–50o N' corridor at consistently similar weather patterns consisting of average temperatures of 5-11oC, combined with low specific (3–6 g/kg) and absolute humidity (4–7 g/m3). There has been a lack of significant community establishment in expected locations that are based only on population proximity and extensive population interaction through travel. 

Here's the world temperature map from the study. The black circles represent regions with significant coronavirus transmission. Significantly, they all exist along the green band, with warmer climates less affected:

Theoretically, if we want to protect ourselves from the coronavirus, we must back away from all the climate change efforts we've been making. The Manhattan Contrarian spells out the practical effects of this conclusion:

  • Immediately give up using re-usable tote bags, and go for single use plastic grocery bags. Those reusable tote bags pick up germs and spread them all over the place for days. You need bags that you can use once and get rid of immediately before they infect you and everyone around you. John Tierney has the scoop in today's New York Post: "Researchers have been warning for years about the risks of these [reusable] bags spreading deadly viral and bacterial diseases, but public officials have ignored their concerns, determined to eliminate single-use bags and other plastic products despite their obvious advantages in reducing the spread of pathogens." Tierney has plenty more details at the link, including citations to articles in scientific journals. And while you're at it, those highly sanitary single use plastic straws are also an excellent option to avoid contact between your lips and what may be a contaminated cup or glass.
  • To the extent that you must travel around, you can avoid all common conveyances (planes, trains and buses). Those could be filled with carriers of the virus. Instead, go by yourself in an automobile. Carpool? Forget it. How do you know that your companion is not infected? It's one person per car for the duration.
  • Crank up the thermostat. Researchers in China have determined that the coronavirus spreads most successfully at 8.72 deg C (that's about 48 deg F), and its spread slows progressively the warmer you get from there. "The study, by a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou ... [concluded that] the 'virus is highly sensitive to high temperature.'" To be fair, this study was more about outdoor than indoor temperatures; but why take a chance in the environment you can control?

Published with permission from the American Thinker.


  climate change, coronavirus, environmentalism, global warming

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