IT TURNS OUT, AMID CORONAVIRUS, SUMMER ISN’T JUST GOOD FOR YOUR VITAMIN D FIX, ACCORDING TO DR. FAUCI.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March, there was wishful thinking that come summer, the virus would be eradicated. Many people took comfort in believing that the warm weather would have a significant impact on the COVID-19 contagion. But considering the surges the Sun Belt states and now the Midwest have seen throughout June, July, and August thus far, it’s clear that’s sadly not the case. However, summer does bring one benefit against COVID-19 that the dreary winter and rainy spring months didn’t: sunshine. Recently, the nation’s top immunologist Anthony Fauci, MD, confirmed that sunlight kills coronavirus, giving you yet another reason to get outside this summer.
During a spirited Instagram Live interview with Matthew McConaughey, Fauci responded affirmatively when the actor asked if sunlight kills COVID-19. “It does. That’s one of the reasons why outside in the sun when you are interacting… That is much, much better than being inside,” Fauci said. He then summarized the benefits of the summer sun with one of his oft repeated mantras: “Outside is always better than inside.”
When McConnaughey asked if that’s why certain island countries in the tropics have seen much lower COVID case levels overall, Fauci quickly affirmed that “it’s quite conceivable that that’s the case.”
This isn’t the first time scientists have hailed the sun’s coronavirus killing abilities. A study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology in June concluded that “90 percent or more of SARS-CoV-2 virus will be inactivated after being exposed [to summer sun] for 11 to 34 minutes.”
On top of that, the researchers noted that “99 percent of SARS-CoV-2 may be inactivated within the two hours period around solar noon during summer in most U.S. cities located south of latitude 43 degrees north,” which is the large majority of cities in the U.S.
The study authors also suggested that anyone spending time in the great outdoors can actually develop a tolerance to COVID-19 from exposure to deactivated viral fragments in nature. “Healthy people outdoors receiving sunlight could have been exposed to lower viral dose with more chances for mounting an efficient immune response,” the study reads.
In fact, the sun kills coronavirus so effectively that scientists are currently exploring technology to mimic its effects. Artificial “far UV-C lights” are currently being tested as a safe way to efficiently and constantly disinfect indoor areas such as elevators, schools, restaurants, and public transportation. Forbes reports that the carefully installed units could inactivate 99.9 percent of viruses in just 25 minutes—including two related coronaviruses responsible for the common cold. And for more advice from Fauci, check out You Can Safely Keep Your Mask Off If You’re Doing This, Says Dr. Fauci.
Zachary Mack, August 13th, 2020