Will Warmer Temperatures Help Stop COVID-19 in NJ?
Any vaccine for widespread human use is at least several months away. So officials and health professionals are banking on common sense, and perhaps Mother Nature, to reduce transmission of novel coronavirus in the Garden State.
It's not yet known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when temperatures rise in the months ahead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes there is still much more to learn about the illness, including how weather and temperatures will affect how it spreads.
But if the newer strain follows patterns of previous coronavirus strains, humid weather could help quell the likelihood of transmission, according to Dr. Manish Trivedi, director of AtlantiCare's Division of Infections Diseases.
With the virus traveling in "droplets," he said, more humidity ideally leads to larger droplets that fail to last in the environment and instead drop to the ground.
"This is all kind of speculation because we really don't have enough information on this virus just yet," Trivedi said. "But if history's taught us anything, I think that's what we should look forward to."
Should the warmer months play a role in the spread of COVID-19, one may still contract the illness, depending on its resilience. The common cold and flu, for example, are known to spread more during the colder months but still infect individuals during other months.
Thanks to traditional public health measures, the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s — also caused by a coronavirus — essentially died out within eight months of its first reported case.
"The best way to combat this COVID-19 is really prevention, to try to get ahead of it before it spreads too far," Trivedi said.
At a Monday afternoon media briefing on COVID-19, during which officials upped New Jersey's "presumptive positive" tally to 11, state officials said the risk of an individual contracting coronavirus remains low when common-sense practices are enacted.
"I urge you to communicate to all New Jerseyans that the best way they can protect themselves is by practicing safe respiratory hygiene, and to stay home and call their healthcare provider if they feel sick," Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver told reporters.