Extreme Heat, Cold Don’t Kill The Coronavirus, World Health Organization Says

'You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is,' says the World Health Organization.

the novel coronavirus under a microscope
CDC / Getty Images

'You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is,' says the World Health Organization.

Neither extreme heat nor extreme cold kills the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes. The organization’s statement thwarts any expectation that a change in the weather, such as transitioning to summer or back to winter, will have any direct effect on the pandemic.

Hot temperatures are not known to have any appreciable effect on the coronavirus, which means that no part of the United States, no matter how hot it is right now or will get this summer, is safe from the virus due to temperature.

In fact, that’s true for the entire world. The coronavirus has not spared hot and humid climes, such as those of Southeast Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, that’s not to say that the case is closed when it comes to seasonal transmission of the coronavirus. Most contagious illnesses are better at surviving and reproducing during the colder months. Health officials are currently waiting to see what the data says once things start warming up in the Northern Hemisphere when it comes to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“We don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

artist's rendering of the coronavirus over a map of the world
  geralt / Pixabay

Meanwhile, extreme cold is believed to have the same effect on the coronavirus as extreme heat, which is to say, none at all.

Similarly, reports have emerged of people trying to kill the coronavirus, or even cure COVID-19, by exposing themselves to artificial ultraviolet light (such as via a tanning bed or UV lamp). Others have taken extremely hot showers or ice baths. Some have doused their entire bodies in alcohol.

None of that will work, says the World Health Organization, and may even do more harm than good. An extremely hot bath, for example, can cause burns and skin irritation, and a UV lamp can cause a sunburn, to say nothing of prolonged exposure to UV radiation and its link to skin cancer.

The best advice to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus is the same advice that health officials have been promoting for moths: maintain social distancing, avoid direct contact with others, and wash hands frequently.

As of this writing, according to Worldometers, the United States has 646,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 28,640 are known to have died of the disease. Worldwide, at least 2 million people have contracted the disease, and at least 137,000 have died of it.