May 23, 2020

USA: Research Study: Coronavirus Appears To Die Quickly In Direct Sunlight, Heat, And Humidity. CDC Now Says The Novel Virus “Does Not Spread Easily” From "Touching Surfaces Or Objects".

Fox News
written by Andrew O'Reilly
Thursday April 23, 2020

President Trump and public health officials argued on Thursday that higher temperatures and humidity, as well as direct exposure to sunlight, quickly kills the coronavirus, leading to hopes that the threat of the contagion could drastically recede during the summer months.

Bill Bryan, the head of the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, said that solar light along with high temperatures and humidity have a “powerful effect” of creating environments less favorable for the virus to survive.

A chart released by during the White House coronavirus task force by the DHS showed that the novel coronavirus dies within two minutes in hot summer humidity while on surfaces and a minute and a half while in the air.

"Coronavirus dies at a much more rapid pace when exposed to sunlight and humidity,” Bryan said during the White House briefing. “The virus dies the quickest in direct sunlight. Isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds."

Bryan, however, warned that the results from a DHS study were still in the nascent stages and cautioned Americans to continue practicing social distancing and other hygiene measures outlined by the federal government.

The DHS analysis gave Trump a reason to boast for suggesting earlier this year that the virus will abate during the hot summer months.

“I just threw it out as a suggestion and it seems like that might be the case,” Trump said while mocking members of the media for criticizing his past comments.

Earlier on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence also appeared hopeful that the pandemic would begin to recede as summer approaches – telling Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that it could "largely" be "behind us” by Memorial Day Weekend.

“If you look at the trends today, I think by Memorial Day Weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us,” said Pence, who is the chairman of the White House coronavirus task force. “State and local officials will begin to reopen activities, you’re going to see states ahead here begin to do that.”

Some states are making quick moves to get businesses up and running as quickly as possible. On Friday, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp will reopen some businesses in the state, including gyms, barbershops and nail salons – despite criticism from Trump and lawmakers across the country.

Last Thursday, Trump announced the White House’s three-part plan to begin the reopening process, which recommends 14 days of declining new infections, as well as 14 days of declining COVID-like syndromic cases and influenza-like illnesses, before moving to the reopening phase Kemp has called for.

Virginia, however, has a stay-at-home order set to expire well beyond Memorial Day: June 10. Hardest-hit state New York has extended its stay-at-home order until May 15.

So far, the U.S. has faced 856,209 coronavirus cases and 47,272 deaths.
Reuters News
written by Steve Holland, Andy Sullivan
April 23, 2020


On nonporous surfaces like stainless steel, the new coronavirus takes 18 hours to lose half its strength in a dark, low-humidity environment, Bryan said.

In a high-humidity environment, that half-life dropped to six hours, and when the virus was exposed to high humidity and sunlight, the half-life dropped to two minutes, he said.

Researchers found a similar effect with the coronavirus that was suspended in the air - simulating the coughing or sneezing that often spreads the disease. In a dark room, the virus maintained half its strength for an hour. But when exposed to sunlight, it lost half its strength in 90 seconds, Bryan said.

Researchers also found that isopropyl alcohol was a more effective disinfectant than bleach, he said.

NBC News published May 6, 2020: Inside The DHS Lab Where Researchers Study Coronavirus. Researchers at a secure Homeland Security lab now have one priority: to understand how the coronavirus spreads and infects so easily. They’re working to answer questions about how long the virus remains in the air and the impact of sunlight.

NBC, KXAN News, Austin local
written by Jim Spencer
Thursday May 7, 2020

Instead of sheltering in place, maybe we should all be outside. In an exclusive report on NBC News, a U.S. government scientist said the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) appears to die quickly in direct sunlight, both in the air and on surfaces, but not necessarily on the skin.

In an exclusive interview, Paul Dabisch, a senior research scientist at the Department of Homeland Security’s biodefense research laboratory, said that initial lab tests show sunlight, higher temperatures and humidity are hurdles for the survival of the coronavirus.

“What we have found so far is that sunlight seems to be very detrimental to the virus,” Dabisch explained. “And so within minutes, the majority of the virus is inactivated on surfaces and in the air in direct sunlight.”

Research done at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center was first revealed by William Bryan, the acting undersecretary for science and technology at Homeland Security. He described the “most striking observation to date,” that ultraviolet rays from the sun may have a powerful effect on the virus.

During a White House briefing April 23, Bryan reported, “The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace, just from exposure to higher temperatures and just from exposure to humidity.”

An analysis in Swiss Medical Weekly found that “seasonal variation in transmissibility has the potential to modulate” the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think it is highly likely that it will show winter peaks in temperate areas of the world,” co-author Jan Albert of Sweden’s Karolinska University Hospital said by email.

But even with that finding comes caution: “The onset of spring and summer could, for example, give the impression that (the coronavirus) has been successfully contained, only for infections to increase again in 2020-2021 winter season,” the Swiss Medical Weekly paper said in March.

Other studies have drawn correlations between cooler climes and higher transmission rates, but socioeconomic factors can also be at play, including the quality of health care, underlying health conditions and social distancing protocols in a particular region, Relman said.

Although the coronavirus may not survive as well on laboratory surfaces in warmer, more humid weather, it might still be easily transmitted from person to person, the experts said.

Albert said the coronavirus “will become endemic” like the four strains associated with the common cold.

“Given the magnitude of the global spread, it is hard to see that it will be contained and disappear,” he said. “It is likely that it will become a fifth endemic coronavirus.”

Dr. Arnold S. Monto, an epidemiology professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, argued there’s little evidence so far that this coronavirus will act like its endemic relatives and take a summer break.

“This pandemic virus is behaving differently,” he said by email. “The common viruses rarely cause severe disease, so we are not sure if they will behave similarly.”

As such, people should not expect to relax their precautions much in warmer months.

“It is important that individuals still do what they can to protect themselves and others, including wearing masks, washing their hands and maintaining appropriate physical distances,” said Bednarczyk of Emory University in Atlanta.

Stanford’s Relman said: “It may turn out the summer is a better time, but we don’t want to wait and hope and find out we’re wrong. It’s much more wise to say, ‘Let’s not count on it.

UPDATE 5/23/20 at 6:26pm: Added info below.

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