Citing a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report, US President Donald Trump on Thursday (local time) said that coronavirus has a less chance of surviving in a warm and humid environment as opposed to cold and dry weather where it stays put. The study also showed that bleach could kill the virus in saliva or respiratory fluids within five minutes and isopropyl alcohol could kill it even more quickly.
Speaking in a press brief at the White House, Trump said, “The scientists at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have released a report offering how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces.”
“The findings confirm the virus survives better in colder, drier environments and does less well in warmer and more humid environments,” he added.
The US President said that he made the proposal of hot weather’s impact on the virus earlier, which was not received well, and now “it seems like that might be the case.”
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” the president said, turning to Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, “and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.
“And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting,” the president continued.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”
Netizens didn’t take long to unleash a meme riot on Dr Deborah’s reaction to Trump’s bizarre suggestion.
Backing Trump, Bill Bryan, the head of the science and technology directorate at DHS, said: “Coronavirus dies at a much more rapid pace when exposed to sunlight and humidity.”
“The virus dies the quickest in direct sunlight. Isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds,” he added.
“I would like to share certain trends that we believe are important. Our most striking observation to date is a powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air. We have seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well. We are increasing the temperature and humidity or both are generally less favourable to the virus,” he explained.
However, Bryan said that the results from a DHS study were still in the initial stages.
Meanwhile, more than 2.6 million people around the world have been affected by COVID-19. The US has reported as many as 8,60,000 cases with 49,759 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.