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The new debate in the battle against coronavirus is whether seasonal temperatures could help contain the outbreak.
The White House is pitching “emerging” research on the benefits of sunlight and humidity in diminishing the threat of the coronavirus.
Past studies have not found good evidence that the warmer temperatures and higher humidity of spring and summer will help tamp down the spread of the virus.
But William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security said at a White House briefing Thursday that there are “emerging results” from new research that suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.
He said scientists have seen a similar effect from higher temperatures and humidity. A biocontainment lab in Maryland has been conducting testing on the virus since February, Bryan said.
“The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace just from exposure to higher temperatures and just from exposure to humidity,” Bryan said.
Bryan said having more knowledge about this could help governors when making decisions about how and when to open their state economies.
However, he stressed that the emerging results of the light and heat studies do not replace social distancing recommendations.
President Trump noted that researchers were also looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus “does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” Bryan said there was no consideration of that.
Earlier in the month, scientific advisers told the White House there’s no good evidence yet that the heat and humidity of summer will rein in the virus without continued public health measures.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.