It’s cold and drizzly out there right now, but as Kansas Citians know from looking at the calendar, that’s not going to last.
KC is the northern edge of our country’s humid subtropical zone—the same general zone that includes places like the Gulf Coast, Florida, Lousiana and the Carolinas. Our summer weather patterns are hot and humid because the climate is influenced heavily by moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexico.
And that could—could—be a major benefit soon.
Because early studies show that the novel coronavirus causing a pandemic does not like hot, humid temperatures.
The spread of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus—yes, that’s the technical name of the virus—is “likely to be constrained by climate,” says a new paper pre-published on the subject.
“The current spread suggests a degree of climate determination with Coronavirus displaying a preference for cool and dry conditions,” the researchers found from analyzing existing data. “The predecessor SARS-CoV was linked to similar climate conditions. Should the spread of SARS CoV-2 continue to follow current trends, a worst-case scenario of synchronous global pandemic is improbable. More probable is the emergence of asynchronous seasonal global outbreaks much like other respiratory diseases.”
In layman’s terms, that means that this virus prefers cool, dry temperatures to the point that it may not spread well in the hot, humid summer and instead mostly die off before becoming a seasonal thing that returns with the fall, as do the common coronaviruses we often call “colds.”
A paper published in mid-March by European researchers found that 95 percent of infections globally occurred in dry climates that are at temperatures between about 28° and 50° Fahrenheit. A similar analysis by MIT researchers put the number at 90 percent.
The summer weather will not be foolproof—there are cases in tropical places such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia—but it could provide some welcome relief.