By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It is a topic of ongoing debate: what will happen to the coronavirus when the weather gets warmer and more humid? Will it behave like the flu and common cold rhinoviruses that seem to fade away during the summer?

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According to CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez, the reality is those viruses never really go away. They become less common, but remain with us.

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So what about this virus?

Researchers from Harvard and MIT have assembled and analyzed a massive global dataset to look at the impact of weather, specifically temperature, not humidity, on the transmission of SARS-COVID-2.

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So, does rising temperature reduce the transmission of this virus? The short answer is yes, but not by very much. The researchers’ working paper says that for every degree above 77 Fahrenheit, there is about a 1.7% reduction in transmission. While that sounds like it could amount to a lot if temperatures reach the 90s, you have to realize that’s an average of 24-hour temperatures. So the actual benefit may not be significant.

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While most of the countries hit hard by the pandemic so far have been in the northern hemisphere, where it was winter when the global outbreak began, some hot countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and Qatar have suffered significant outbreaks as well.

The lead author of the Harvard-MIT paper concluded that rising temperature was not a strong effect, adding it’s modest and not nearly enough to stop the pandemic, and that public health controls such as social distancing should remain in effect.

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For the top questions people have been asking about the coronavirus, visit cbsnewyork.com/max, and go to facebook.com/cbsnewyork to submit your question.