The COVID-19 outbreak may burn out in the summer as happened with the SARS epidemic in 2003, according to an article published at the caixinglobal.com.
The report notes that many have high hopes for such a positive development, including U.S. President Donald Trump. Some scientists are also speculating that the coronavirus will not survive long in warmer environments, but, whether this is true, it is still up in the air.
The number of new confirmed cases has indeed shown signs of slowing during the past several days, and more patients are being released from hospitals every day. But the point when the number of infected people begins to decline is still not in sight.
Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese respiratory expert who became famous for his role in the 2003 SARS epidemic, said on Monday that he expects the number of new cases to peak in late February. But whether that would mark the turning point depends on what effect resumption of work across China would have on the spread of the disease.
Wang Chen, a respiratory expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told state broadcaster CCTV that appropriate quarantine measures combined with warm weather will assist curb the spread.
During the 2003 SARS outbreak, for every rise of 1 degree Celsius in Hong Kong, where the virus killed almost 300 people, the number of confirmed cases declined by 3.6. The SARS outbreak lasted nearly eight months.
But differences between SARS and COVID-19 make it difficult to predict the resilience of the new virus. Unlike SARS, which can only infect others by patients with a fever, people with COVID-19 can spread the disease without exhibiting any symptoms, making it much more difficult to control the outbreak.
As temperatures rise, coronavirus floats in the air or attaches to surfaces — both places where it can survive for only a short period of time. But once in the body, its ability to infect does not decrease, said Ma Ke, a doctor at Wuhan Tongji Hospital.