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Evidence shows that sunlight slows the spread of Wuhan Virus

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  • Evidence shows that sunlight slows the spread of Wuhan Virus


    What infection rates in Iceland and Australia may reveal about how COVID-19 could spread in the US

    By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer

    Published Mar. 24, 2020 4:06 PM

    AccuWeather’s Brittany Boyer breaks down the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, and Blake Naftel shares a way to stay active while social distancing.

    Research into the possible effects of heat, humidity and population density on the transmission of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has led to the theory that warmer weather during spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere may lead to a decline in the rate of spread of COVID-19, the illness it causes, but there is a range of opinions on the matter in the infectious disease community.

    The effect of the sun’s ultraviolet rays may play a larger role than even heat and humidity. As the latest data is analyzed regarding the possible role that weather and climate factors may play in the rate of spread of COVID-19 continues, it may provide some new clues for what to expect in the United States as summer approaches. In particular, a look at the per capita infection rates of Iceland and Australia might possibly offer a glimpse at UV’s possible impact on the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

    As of Tuesday, Iceland has among the world's highest rates of confirmed coronavirus cases per capita at 0.177 percent, with 648 cases from a population of 364,260. Australia’s confirmed infected rate is just 0.0083 percent – 2,044 cases from a population of 25.4 million people.

    That means Iceland’s infection rate is roughly 22 times greater than Australia’s, not factoring in other variables for either location. While heat and humidity could play a role in the disparity, a look at the impact of UV rays reveals it may be more substantial than the other two weather factors.

    The average temperature in Sydney, Australia, was 74.8 F from Jan. 1, 2020, until March 15, which was the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere. It was 32.1 F in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the same time period, which was winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

    For a closer comparison, AccuWeather looked at a city also experiencing winter at that time. Iceland’s average temperature was comparable to Chicago’s for the same time period (32.6 F). But Chicago’s coronavirus cases per capita were substantially lower, with Iceland's rate soaring almost 10 times higher than Chicago’s rate (0.0178 percent, based on 490 cases among a population of 2.74 million).

    The role sunlight plays in destroying viruses has already been noted by John Nicholls, a pathology professor at the University of Hong Kong who is part of a team studying a laboratory-grown copy of SARS-CoV-2. When contacted by AccuWeather this week, he said his team is investigating whether sunlight affects the virus causing COVID-19 the way it affects other viruses, like the flu.

    “As previously published works show that influenza can be inactivated by simulated sunlight, we are exploring the experimental setting to see if there can be similar inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by sunlight,” Nicholls told AccuWeather.

    Because Iceland is so far north -- its latitude is 64.1 and its mainland is only a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle -- the country receives fewer hours of sun and less solar intensity than cities farther south. The map below shows the Dec.-Jan.-Feb average for ultraviolet light, showing Iceland’s sun deficit compared to Chicago, with a latitude of 41.8, and especially Sydney (33.8).

    Source: "KNMI/ESA;"

    "Iceland gets almost no ultraviolet radiation during the winter," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell. "Chicago does, so it's better off – and Sydney is much higher on the scale than either of them.”

    The good news for Iceland is that it will continue to experience more UV as spring continues into summer, which could possibly impact its number of coronavirus cases.

    Reykjavik, Iceland, for example, had a maximum sun angle of just 2.54 degrees at the winter solstice on Dec. 21, 2019. That angle will increase to 52.4 degrees by the arrival of the summer solstice on June 20, 2020. "That means a greater amount of solar radiation reaches the ground,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel.


    “The variability of sunshine from December to June is roughly 25 to 1,” said AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. “I suspect if there’s anything to these numbers regarding the possible impact of UV on COVID-19, then comparing Australia to Iceland shows the effect of the ultraviolet radiation. And in the Northern Hemisphere, the ultraviolet waves from the sun are increasing dramatically day by day as we go through spring.”

    The increased solar activity for Iceland, of course, means fall and winter will soon occur for Southern Hemisphere locations such as Australia, which could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases there.

    Until there's scientific data, we may never know given all of the extreme public health measures that are in place and undoubtedly slowing the spread. The analysis of UV’s role does not rule out other factors that may be affecting the COVID-19 per capita rates.

    An elderly lady walks across the usually busy Columbus Drive that splits Chicago's Grant Park in half, on the first work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter-in-place order last week, Monday, March 23, 2020, photo, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Iceland’s “case detection is probably the most complete of any country on the planet, which may explain the high per capita cases,” Dr. Bryan Lewis, a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute, told AccuWeather.

    “The difference between Iceland and Chicago may be more about the travel restrictions, just physical placement in the world and ‘good luck,’ Lewis added. “Infections in the U.S. are ramping up and it will be a while, but we may well have more infections per capita than Iceland at some point.”

    Keep checking back on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
    Last edited by Lou Newton; March 25, 2020, 11:01 AM.

  • #2
    1 John 1 NIV

    5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

    8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

    Psalm 19 NIV

    For the director of music. A psalm of David.

    1The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
    3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
    4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
    In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
    6 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

    The sun is a shadow of Christ. The UV light from it kills virus and bacteria. Just as Jesus purifies us of sin, the sunlight purifies us from sickness.

    Also the sunlight produces Vitamin D in our bodies that helps our immune system fight disease.

    The sunlight also produces Melatonin that fights disease.

    The natural is a sign of the spiritual. The natural sunlight that purifies us from sickness is a sign that Jesus, who is Light, purifies us from sin.