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You’ve probably heard people talking about or debating about whether or not exposure to the sun kills off the coronavirus.
There’s been a lot of split opinions among the public and experts about whether or not this is true.
It is a significant question because it could mean decreased spread in the coming months as temperatures rise and could possibly even mean that being outdoors in sunny areas could be safer than other areas.
Well now, a preliminary study done by the government has found some encouraging early results about the effect of sunlight on the coronavirus.
The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (a lab created to address biological threats),performed tests on viral particles suspended in saliva in environments that were meant to replicate certain weather conditions.
The findings, found in a briefing by the DHS science and technology directorate, show that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures, high humidity, and also that it is “quickly” destroyed by sunlight.
The process of destroying the virus with sunlight is actually pretty simple.
Basically, according to experts like Arthur Anderson, former director of the Office of Human Use and Ethics at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the ultraviolet light from the sun breaks down the RNA or DNA of the virus into fragments.
It’s worth noting that this is a preliminary study and has not been peer reviewed or even published yet. Furthermore, this does not mean that transmission rates will decrease due to the weather changing or that you should feel completely safe in the outdoors when among crowds.
I think it is still super important to practice social distancing and to emphasize sanitizing your hands as much as possible and to continue wearing masks if warranted.
But I take this news is good news in the sense that anything that could possibly decrease the prevalence of this virus is going to be welcomed by me.
This could make us feel much better about opening beaches back up and other treasured outdoor spaces like national parks. The report even clearly states things like “Outdoor daytime environments are lower risk for transmission.”
But it could also mean that we need to apply extra measures to low humidity enclosed areas like aircraft cabins.
Still, even the experts are saying that this is encouraging.
Dr. Kavita Patel, a Yahoo medical contributor and nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution stated, “Does this give a little more hope about the virus potentially decreasing? Yes. I would say even Dr. Fauci has alluded to that.”
So even though this does not mean the virus is going to go away 100% simply because we are moving into summer, it is a bit of encouraging news that hopefully will lead to people feeling more comfortable about getting back out relatively soon.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.