Short answer: maybe. We do know it’s going to be hot this week, and that’s at least potentially a good thing.
Hot and sunny weather is expected all the way into Friday. Record high temperatures are likely most if not all of the days. Highs will reach the upper 80s. A few spots may touch 90 degrees by Saturday.
By late Saturday a cold front will approach the area and a few showers are possible by afternoon and evening. The rain chances look very slim right now for the weekend.
But seeing as though the state of Louisiana is shut down over the Wuhan virus, the question is whether warmer temperatures will have a positive effect on getting rid of it.
As lockdowns sweep the country and people prepare to work from home for months, many are wondering whether springtime’s warmer temperatures will provide much-needed relief from the coronavirus. Others, including President Donald Trump, have made the case that it’s a certainty.
“When it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away,” said Trump, at a rally in New Hampshire last month. That was five weeks before U.S. cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, topped 15,000 and global cases climbed to over 250,000. (So, no, a little warmth hasn’t brought a miracle.)
But there is some (very) early evidence that the current pandemic could be alleviated by rising temperatures and local climates. A preprint of a study by researchers in China — which has yet to be peer reviewed — examined 100 Chinese cities that had more than 400 cases. They found that the coronavirus was transmitted more rapidly in cities with cooler and drier weather conditions. Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, typically has temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit during December and January. Last week, it was in the low 70s.
Nobody should believe much of anything about China’s reporting of case numbers on the virus, as they’re clearly still lying. That said, the epidemic does appear to have calmed down in Wuhan where it started. Is that a function of higher temperatures?
It’s too soon to tell. It’s a lot warmer in Singapore and Brazil than it is in Wuhan, and the virus is spreading there. But in Italy, the vast majority of the Wuhan virus outbreak has been centered in Lombardy, in the northern and cooler part of the country, and not so much in the south of Italy where it tends to be hot by comparison.
Assuming, though, that this virus operates like other coronaviruses – and while we don’t have enough data to know for sure that it will, we also don’t have much data to disprove the theory – when it gets hot we should see a diminution in its spread. SARS and MERS, for example, which are coronavirus infections, depend on cool, dry weather to spread. That’s also something we see from the common cold and the flu; they peak in the winter, with the worst months typically being January and February, and when it starts getting hot they start to go away.
The big issue is whether a virus can live in droplets or on a surface. If it’s hot enough, the answer, should the Wuhan virus be the same as others, will be no. You can still get infected from somebody who has it, but it would require closer contact with them – sharing bodily fluids somehow, for example.
If nothing else, though, we’d like to have an experiment. Let’s see if this Chinese interloper can survive Louisiana’s 90-degree heat and swampy humidity for long. Most carpetbaggers don’t last; maybe that’ll be true of this one.