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Will warmer weather help stop coronavirus? Is street spraying effective?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

Coronavirus
Coronavirus (WDIV)

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowldging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Warm weather effect

Viewers from Van Buren Township and elsewhere have asked Local 4 if it’s true that warmer weather in the spring and summer will naturally stop the spread of coronavirus.

The answer to that question is unknown since we haven’t experienced COVID-19 during all seasons. Some predictions based on the transmission of related viruses and influenza suggest increased temperatures and humidity can slow viruses, but our summer is winter in the southern hemisphere, so coronavirus could simply move geographically.

Then, it could potentially re-emerge when the fall and winter arrive again.

If the virus is slowed down by the summer, that could buy time for further antiviral and vaccine development. Only time will tell.

Is spraying effective?

A viewer from Garden City asked whether spraying streets and buildings with disinfectant is effective against coronavirus.

The truth is experts don’t know that answer, either. There are no studies on the effectiveness of the practice we’ve seen in China and other parts of the world.

Based on what we know about survival of the virus on surfaces such as sidewalks, it’s not likely that it is either effective or necessary.

Decontaminating indoor surfaces, especially commonly touched areas such as handrails, counter tops and door handles, makes much more sense.

The logic behind spraying sidewalks probably has to do with the tendency for droplets from coughs and sneezes to settle there. Farm workers sometimes rinse their boots to prevent transmission of certain animal illnesses, but the value in a city is unclear.


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