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Human exposure to sunlight or heat does not kill the virus that causes COVID-19

by Cédric Ayisa - June 13, 2020   461 Views   2 min
Human exposure to sunlight or heat does not kill the virus that causes COVID-19

Claim

Exposing ourselves to the sun or to high temperatures kills the Covid-19 virus

Verdict

Inaccurate (no factual basis; unacceptable margin of error)

There is still a lot of talk on Facebook about the fact that COVID-19 can’t resist high temperatures or sunlight. Statements such as: "GET OUT IN THE SUN!!! Coronavirus can't live!!!! This new virus is not heat resistant and will be killed by a temperature of only 26/27 degrees Celsius (about 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The virus hates the sun", are inaccurate.

COVID-19 spreads across climates 

According to WHO, COVID-19 can spread in all climates. Several countries with hot climates, such as India, have reported cases of COVID-19. As we write these lines, India, which has temperatures above 30°C, reports 90927 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Similarly, there are nearly 100 000 cases of COVID-19 on the African continent, according to the WHO Regional Office in Africa – where several countries have current temperatures in excess of 28C. 

In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national health authority in the United States, there are insufficient data to validate that the virus can be eliminated at a certain temperature or by exposure to sunlight. The U.S. institution also states that in determining such a temperature, the type of surface, the environment and other factors that may influence the life span of the virus would have to be taken into account. 

Although high temperature and humidity can make the virus unstable, according to studies submitted to the National Academy of Sciences (in the United States), this does not mean that COVID-19 can be prevented or cured by exposure to sunlight, experts from the Academy warn in a report. 

In addition, unprotected exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. It is therefore not recommended to expose yourself to the sun without protection. 

It is possible that UV-C rays can kill the virus on surfaces that have been exposed to the sun. 

UV-C radiation is sometimes used to sterilize protective equipment for health care workers, such as masks, but only in times of emergency if new equipment is not available. However, in determining the temperature needed to kill the virus on surfaces, the type of surface, the environment and other factors that may influence the life of the virus must be taken into account. 

Hygienic and sanitary protection measures are not the same for surfaces as for humans. It is therefore incorrect to state that heat or exposure to sunlight will protect us from COVID-19.  

So, what can be done to prevent COVID-19? 

To date, there is no treatment to prevent or cure COVID-19, but you can still protect yourself. To do so, you need to: 

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Keep a safe distance of about 2 metres from other people
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Follow the instructions of the health authorities.


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  Claim

Andy Kent

Person
Exposing ourselves to the sun or to high temperatures kills the Covid-19 virus

Verdict:

Inaccurate (no factual basis; unacceptable margin of error)

 June 13, 2020


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