NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As COVID-19 cases multiply across the United States, and cities go under lockdown, we wonder, “is there any hope in sight?” Well, with the help of social distancing and self-quarantine, the bell curve will eventually curve back down. There is also another glimmer of hope in the future: summertime.
Typically during summertime, cases of the flu and influenza go down, thanks to warmer weather and humidity. According to the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, viruses have a harder time staying alive in summer, because warmer temperatures degrade the virus quicker, and humidity inhibits the mobility of the virus.
Another factor to consider is that humans are healthier in the summer. One of the reasons for this is that we have higher levels of Vitamin D in our body during the summer. Aside from taking vitamins or eating Vitamin D rich foods, the sun is another main source of Vitamin D for humans. When UVB radiation from the sun reaches the earth and hits our skin, the human body processes it into Vitamin D. According to the National Institutes of Health, individuals with lower levels of Vitamin D are more likely to report an upper-respiratory-tract infection than those with sufficient levels.
You may think that New Mexico sees plenty of sunshine in winter, so what gives? Well, during the winter, UVB rays do not make it to earth’s surface in places like the United States, due to the low angle of the sun and thickness of the atmosphere. The sun needs to be at a fifty-degree angle or higher for these rays to get through the atmosphere. During spring, we start to see the sun moving further towards the north pole, allowing for these higher angles, which allows us to receive Vitamin D from sunshine again from spring to fall.
Regardless of these reasons why health usually prevails in the summertime, health experts do not know exactly how COVID-19 works, and the weather may not be a large enough factor to reduce cases.