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How hot temperatures slow coronavirus transmission, by study

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• WHO harps on health essential services amid pandemic

Scientists have confirmed that warmer temperatures moderately slow the transmission of coronavirus and that age, the male sex, obesity and underlying illnesses are risk factors for severe COVID-19 cases or death.

A new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases revealed that while the rate of COVID-19 decrease with warmer temperatures up to 52 degrees F (11 degree Celsius), further warmer temperatures do not decrease disease transmission significantly.

The researchers found that higher Ultra Violet (UV) index also assists in slowing the rate of new cases, but the overall impact remains modest. However, precipitation patterns did not appear to have any effect on virus transmission.

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The research team analysed daily reported cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2)/COVID-19 infection across the United States from January 22, 2020 through April 3, 2020, as tracked by John Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Dashboard and estimated associations between temperature, precipitation, UV Index, as tracked from the National Centers for Environmental Information and rate of increase.

Indeed, it is well known that rates of transmission of some respiratory viruses, including influenza, tend to fall during the summer months. As COVID-19 spread globally, questions have arisen on whether warming temperatures, humidity and UV index might slow or even halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These effects on virus transmission will be important to understand as warmer months ease in and states across the country consider and implement reopening plans.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday released a new guidance on how to maintain essential health services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It explained that the new guidance would help countries to keep essential health services running while taking measures to keep their citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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WHO maintained that most health systems were facing challenges of increased demand for care of people with COVID-19, compounded by fears, misinformation and limitations on movement that disrupt healthcare conditions for all conditions.

It said countries should find ways to keep people safe and ensure the delivery of services such as emergency care for conditions like heart attacks and injury, immunisation to prevent outbreaks, treatment for infectious diseases like Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), malaria and tuberculosis, screening and treatment for non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes.

The new guidance titled, “Maintaining Essential Health Services: Operational Guidance For The COVID-19 Context,” recommends practical actions that countries could take at national, sub-regional and local levels to reorganise and safely maintain access to high-quality, essential health services.

It also outlines sample indicators for monitoring the maintenance of essential health services and describes considerations about when to stop and restart services as COVID-19 transmission waxes and wanes.

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