As the weather warms, how will humidity impact COVID-19?

Digital Writers
As the weather warms, how will humidity impact COVID-19?

As always for the spring, the temperature is up and down. But as the ups outnumber the downs, and the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, more people are beginning to wonder what effect rising humidity will have on the coronavirus.

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., says he's hopeful rising temperatures and humidity may be beneficial, though he stresses it's too soon to say for certain.

"I'm hoping we will see some type of positive effect with the weather, but it's hard to know exactly how big that effect will be," he told Weather Network presenter Chris St. Clair during a half-hour "Viral Weather" panel discussion on Friday.

Chakrabarti said there are certainly noticeable health effects in drier air, such as observed nosebleeds in children, which can compromise the nasal membranes that are the first line of defense. As well, he says more humidity helps some respiratory conditions like asthma.

"Whether it has a direct effect on viral transmission, I don't know, but I don't think it could hurt," he says.

As summer nears, more and more people will be turning on the AC, and Chakrabarti says that won't make people more susceptible to infection.

"I've seen around social media a lot, people worrying about this happening with coronavirus. There's no evidence for that. And usually the infections we see with air conditioners is when the air conditioner is really old and decrepit and hasn't been cleaned in a long time," he says.

You can watch Chakrabarti's remarks in the video above.

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