Despite what a particular politician might have stated on TV, no, warm weather isn’t going to stop the COVID-19 coronavirus.
While viruses like the flu come around in “seasons,” this has nothing to do with the virus being unable to function in heat.
Here’s why the warm weather isn’t going to slow the COVID-19 death toll.
The spread of certain viruses might slow down dramatically in humid weather. This is for a number of complex reasons that are unique to the virus. The same is true of the common cold. But viruses aren’t universally repelled by hot or humid weather.
While the Wuhan coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a cousin of other coronaviruses, like the ones that cause SARS and MERS, it’s not clear if it shares behavior with those viruses. Even if it does, there’s not a wealth of evidence that coronaviruses are affected by weather in the way that the flu and common cold viruses are.
Coronavirus affects the respiratory system of its host most strongly. For this reason, it manifests symptoms much like the flu, leading some people with a passing knowledge in virology to assume that it will also behave like the flu.
However, since the virus is new, it hasn’t been researched in a warm climate. Simple flu symptom relief won’t work. It is unclear what, if anything, will change when the warm weather comes in.
But there’s more at play than just a lack of knowledge in this specific case. Viruses become seasonal for a number of reasons, one of which is that a number of people already have immunities to them. Since seasonal viruses have been in the population for generations, most people have some antibodies that work against them.
As the weather warms up and people experience a climate that viruses don’t operate well in, their immunity matters more. A weakened flu virus entering your system won’t give you the flu. However, you’ve likely never had COVID-19 before, so even a weakened coronavirus is likely to give you COVID-19.
This isn’t to say that you should panic or that you’re certain to catch COVID-19 this summer.
However, you should be aware that warm weather alone isn’t going to stop this novel coronavirus in its tracks. Remember: the best defense is to wash your hands regularly and refrain from touching your face, mouth and eyes.