LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As temperatures begin to rise in Las Vegas, many are wondering how extreme, summer heat will affect the spread of COVID-19, so 8 News Now spoke with local experts Friday.
“There’s just still more to know, HCA CareNow Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Lamont Tyler said of the virus. “What we are going to see with the high temperatures remains to be seen, relative to the COVID-19 virus.”
Many scientists don’t have definitive answers just yet, however a Department of Homeland Security official said that preliminary research shows coronavirus dies out more quickly in hot and humid weather. DHS official Bill Bryan shared the findings during Thursday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
Still, local experts say our hot weather may not have a huge impact.
“Summertime in Vegas, it’s hot for Vegas but it’s not killing us,” UNLV School of Public Health Assistant Professor Brian Labus said. “It’s the same thing with the virus, it’s not going to kill it.”
Labus said while the sun and summer conditions may shorten the life of the virus, it won’t get rid of it altogether.
“It’s not just the normal hot days or the normal UV in the environment that’s going to do that,” Labus explained. “It’s a very targeted thing.”
However, he said while the extreme heat itself may not have a significant impact, it may alter our daily routine, forcing us to stay isolated in our homes.
“When it gets hot it changes our behavior,” he said. “So when it’s nice and cool we go outside and spend time outdoors; when it gets hot we all stay inside with the air conditioning.”
Dr. Tyler added that while temperatures could have an impact, community management is still our best bet to fight the disease, asking the community to ride it out a little longer.
“Social distancing, stay at home,” Dr. Tyler said. “I think those have played a much bigger role than in terms of temperatures.”
“We can only speak to what we know,” he added. “And we have to continue to be patient and see how this evolves.”
Regardless of environment, both experts urged community members to continue socially distant practices, wear masks in public places, wash hands for at least 20 seconds and regularly disinfect surfaces.