Can heat, sunlight slow spread of COVID-19? Health expert weighs in

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Recent laboratory studies by the U.S. Army high-level biosecurity lab suggest that heat and sunlight can potentially slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. This study was presented during a White House briefing by William N. Bryan, Under Secretary for Science and Technology (DHS).

A study by the University of Connecticut titled: "Seasonality and uncertainty in COVID-19 growth rates" also point to a similar finding.

"Early insights from laboratory studies of related coronaviruses predicted that COVID-19 would decline at higher temperatures, humidity, and ultraviolet light. Using current, fine-scaled weather data and global reports of infection we developed a model that explained 36% of variation in early growth rates before intervention, with 17% based on weather or demography and 19% based on country-specific effects. We found that ultraviolet light was most strongly associated with lower COVID-19 growth rates."

Stanford medicine professor, Dean Winslow weighed in about this possibility.

"We know from seasonal influenza every year that generally the transmission of cases starts falling dramatically as things heat up in the northern hemisphere, but this is not the flu so we don't know," said Professor Winslow.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom pleads for social distancing during sunny weather this weekend

Regardless of this study Governor Gavin Newsom made clear that the shelter-in-place order remains active.

"It's going to be nice outside this weekend. You might be feeling cooped up. Ready for life to go back to "normal." But can't stress this enough: CA can only keep flattening the curve if we stay home and practice physical distancing. You have the power to literally save lives," wrote Newsom on Twitter.

RELATED: California researchers look into UV light to help kill COVID-19

A concern that medical professionals and Stanford medicine professor, Dean Winslow shares, "The clear risk of transmission is by large particle droplets and they generally have a range of about 6 feet, hence that recommendation of social distancing. However outdoors with the evaporation and dispersal by wind is much more efficient," said Professor Winslow.

We drove to Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek where the weather was 79 degrees.

While wearing a face mask, Dublin resident, Cynthia Gapasin said, "We don't want to get infected or spread the virus. I came out here for a few hours because it's too hot inside my house because the weather."

RELATED: Tens of thousands flock to Orange County beaches as heat wave lingers over SoCal amid COVID-19 pandemic

We saw a large influx of people visiting beaches and parks to do something we all need right now: breathe.

"Having two kids at home we definitely need to get the kids out for out sanity just to get the energy out," said father of two Nate Fox.

While medical professional continue to study this virus the safest thing to do is to stay home and use a face mask when outdoors.

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