If anything sounds like a potential recipe for disaster, it’s thousands of spring breakers congregating closely on Florida beaches, and officials there are releasing precautionary plans to prevent and protect others amid a burgeoning coronavirus outbreak; plus, scientists are testing the repurposing of HIV, Hep C and other antiviral drugs to help fight coronavirus, and will warmer weather help slow the outbreak?
Spring break: A coronavirus disaster in the making?
In what seems like the perfect intro to a teen horror B-movie, imagine thousands of unhygienic spring breakers congregating on Florida beaches, driven by hormones and fueled by alcohol, a raging party that lasts for a month, and you’ve got the ingredients of a bad remake of Outbreak or Contagion, where the partygoers not only spread the virus among one another, but fly home and spread the coronavirus across America and even other countries.
Officials in Florida have released comprehensive plans to prevent the above scenario from becoming a reality. Authorities will be enforcing new rules that will put a damper on some of the usual fun and games. A few of the new rules are the following:
- Occupancy limits will be established.
- Alcohol and beach properties will be confiscated, as well as direct or indirect consumption of alcohol on beach property will be prohibited.
- Coolers, inflatable devices, tents, and tables will not be allowed on beaches.
- Police may shut down certain areas if crowd sizes become too large.
- Authorities are also asking everyone to practice basic hygiene and to stay away from the party if you’re feeling ill.
Clinical trials testing repurposing drugs for coronavirus treatments
In China alone, over 80 clinical trials are underway, as well as numerous others around the world looking for alternative treatments to help combat the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has gotten involved to try to bring order to the search via establishing protocols, as members of the scientific community explore whether physicians can treat coronavirus with medications that were originally designed to treat HIV, Ebola and other viruses, as well as therapies that have been used in new hepatitis C treatments.
Scientists and researchers are testing various therapies in which they are repurposing other drugs, such as a combination of a pair of HIV-drugs called lopinavir and ritonavir, as well as an experimental antiviral remdesivir, the HIV protease inhibitor ASC09 in numerous others.
Will warmer spring and summer weather slow coronavirus spread?
When it comes to influenza, historically, the virus tends to slow in the warmer months, especially summer. This fact has many wondering whether coronavirus will behave the same way.
However, experts say don’t get your hopes up or count on warmer weather slowing the coronavirus spread.
For one thing, it’s not as much a factor of colder weather during winter that helps spread the virus. It’s the fact that people tend to congregate more indoors during winter months. It’s this close contact that spreads the virus through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
On the hopeful side, warm and humid weather does make it harder for respiratory droplets to spread the virus.
“The droplets that carry viruses do not stay suspended in humid air as long, and the warmer temperatures lead to more rapid virus degradation,” according to Elizabeth McGraw, who is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University.
But infectious disease experts also warn that while the spread of coronavirus may slow or retreat during the warmer summer months, the COVID-19 virus itself will not be gone for good.