Dog Walk Covid Mask

Lizzie Hummel wears a mask as she takes her dogs Spike, left and Ziva for a walk through downtown Frederick Monday afternoon. Hummel tries to wear a mask when she is around crowds or sidewalk traffic as a courtesy to others.

As the days get longer, the weather continues to warm up and the coronavirus numbers continue to move in a positive direction across Maryland.

But local health officials say it’s still too early to tell if there is any correlation between those things.

“We don’t have enough data and evidence to suggest that warmer weather has an impact on transmission of this coronavirus,” said Dr. Randall Culpepper, deputy health officer for Frederick County.

There is some belief in the medical community that warmer weather and sunlight help reduce the spread of the virus, and some scientific studies support that belief. But it’s too soon to draw any definitive conclusions.

“Warmer weather will partially reduce virus infections, but definitely not eliminate COVID,” said Dr. Manny Casiano, chief medical officer at Frederick Health Hospital.

“There are studies out of [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] showing that at average daily temperatures above 77 degrees, the transmission of the virus decreases due to increased humidity and [ultraviolet] radiation from the sun. So, that will help us a bit.”

Casiano pointed to the sterilization affect of UV light, as many hospitals use UV lights to disinfect rooms once patients have been discharged.

He also said the droplets of saliva that the virus rides from person to person become heavier in warmer weather because the air is more humid. As a result, they fall to the ground more quickly and don’t stay airborne as long.

That’s why he said it’s important to maintain physical distance because the virus will fall to the ground before it reaches another person.

It also explains why there is such fear of resurgence of coronavirus in the fall when the weather turns colder.

In cooler conditions, there is less humidity, and the water part of the droplets evaporates very quickly. So, the virus remains suspended in the air for a longer period of time, Casiano said.

“Warmer weather will definitely help,” he said. “But it’s not the most important factor in COVID. Many warm-climate countries are seeing significant virus spread. Brazil is now the country with the fastest growing numbers of COVID infections and deaths, despite being a warm climate.”

Rather, it’s critical that preventative measures such as physical distancing, wearing masks and staying at home as much as possible remain in place to reduce that transmission of the virus, doctors say.

Those factors, more so than the weather, are why Maryland has done such an effective job in battling COVID-19, they said.

Hospitalizations have been falling across the state for more than two weeks, and the number of new daily cases is as low as it has been since early April.

The number of confirmed deaths over the last seven days have declined by more than 25 percent over the seven previous days, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.

The amount of testing continues to improve, while the positivity rate continues to fall.

“Kudos to Gov. Hogan, County Executive Jan Gardner and all of our Fredericktonians,” Casiano said.

It’s still too early to relax or declare victory, however.

“My concern is people will be less likely to maintain the physical distancing and use of face covering as we begin to progress down the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery,” Culpepper said.

“We are still in the middle of this pandemic, and, just like a marathon, no one would ever consider stopping the race halfway through and expect to win the race. This is not the time for us to take our foot off the pedal and relax those measures that successfully got us to this point.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek.

(21) comments

KellyAlzan

It has been scientifically proven about 1 month maybe month and a half ago that the corona dies within minutes when exposed to direct sunlight.

TomWheatley

In other words, no one knows for certain, so let's keep these Chicken Little articles going for as long as possible. Any word yet from cases spiking where the various large protests occurred where people were clearly not masked? It is about the right amount of time since then for symptoms to be showing up. What is happening in Italy where it was horrific at the beginning of the year or NYC?

gary4books

We are free to make our own decisions. Later on we will know how wise we are.

TomWheatley

Thanks and remind me to have my morning coffee before writing. I was overly grumpy :)

bosco

Not grumpy at all, Tom. Sounded reasonable to me.[ninja]

Greg F

Gary, the problem is that those without masks have made a decision for us. They have decided that those of certain age groups or with underlying health issues are expendable and can be "culled" from the herd. They made the conscious decision they don't care about anyone but themselves. Walking around maskless and not keeping distance...well, you may as well be a covert assassin.

bosco

But, if one is really concerned about catching the virus from the masses of people not wearing a mask, that person should be wearing an N95 mask all of the time. If you are that concerned, protect yourself and don't worry about what others are doing. It takes two to tango. [ninja]

sevenstones1000

Please go out without a mask and breathe very deeply, Tom. Good luck with that.

TomWheatley

Been doing just that for the last 3 months. I do wear one in stores and other places where people are in close contact for their benefit.

bosco

Me too, Tom, and it's worked for me so far - with rigorous hand washing. I wear my cowboy robber bandanna when required, but never gloves since the virus is not absorbed through the skin. Live with confidence or stay indoors under the covers from fear!

[ninja]

phydeaux994

So you ARE complying bosco, just like all responsible persons are doing. Thanks.

bosco

Never meant to imply that I wasn't, but some may have extrapolated my comments through their own biases and prejudices to assume that I wasn't. I do continue to question measures that don't make any scientific sense - such as wearing rubber gloves when the virus is not a skin absorbtion concern.

I continue to wear a face covering when required, but not outside and not during our outdoor Corona parties.

[ninja]

Greg F

Yes, there is word if you cared to look. Now 2 weeks later, hospitalizations are increasing in 17 states and cases up in 27 and are not just because of increased testing. If you looked at the spikes in cases, the correlate nearly exactly with the weekend dates. People go out weekends, and 2 weeks later cases spike, and that's been the case since APRIL. In states where there are MANDATES vs suggestions for masks and distancing, rates are categorically dropping. One thing to note is that though the "mortality rate" is ever so slowly dropping, it is not dramatic, and it is offset with cases where death cannot be identified directly to covid, but appeared to be....and that trend is increasing and continues to increase and the trend started in February and has slowly increased, not decreased. Some of us have looked very deeply into the data and way too many CDC, NIH, WHO sources to be able to put them into one concise link. Mortality tracker can be found here, so you know I'm not just making this up like some here

https://episphere.github.io/mortalitytracker/?cid=eb_govdel#cause=allcause@state=All States

gary4books

Helping? What did it do in Brazil? And the rest of the Southern parts of the Earth? I have to wait and see on this one.

BunnyLou

Gary, perhaps you are not aware but they are entering winter there.

Greg F

So far, bunnywunny....temperature has NOT made any impact on the virus in any sense of the word. Now that we have our idiot kids out there not in school and not doing the right things, it will get worse. Just yesterday I saw two teens that apparently haven't seen each other in months hugging each other while blocking everyone's exit from Walmart's only exit and then hugging others also around them they also haven't seen. Warmer weather is bringing out the stupids.

gary4books

So they are. And the problems they have now started in their summer. How did that help?

KellyAlzan

Summer weather certainly is helping

Greg F

No, Kelly...it is not. Research backs that up. More people are out, more without masks and any benefit (of which there is none at all shown to be the case) of warm weather, is being offset by the sheer stupidity and selfishness of others. In reality, the virus HAS mutated to be even MORE infectious....though if it is more dangerous has not yet been determined, but it has become even easier to spread.

vodalone

Where is your source the virus has mutated to be more infectious?

bosco

This should be interesting. In the meantime, it's happy hour at Bosco Manor and time for a cool Corona with a slice of lime. Life is good.[ninja]

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