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Why This Matters: With coronavirus fear spreading even before it reaches the U.S. in a major way, as health professionals warn is inevitable, it is important to clear up any confusion about the illness and how it spreads and when it can be expected to let up. Credible information is being provided by government agencies like the CDC on their “FAQs” page, not the White House, unfortunately. Anyone who has ever had a summer cold (i.e., everyone) knows that the seasonal nature of these viruses is all relative. And one thing is for certain, the President and his economic advisors don’t have “superior” information to the public health experts in agencies like the CDC. And anything they say that diverges from those health professionals should be taken with a grain of salt as spin or wishful thinking. The facts won’t lie, but our current leaders have repeatedly.
Weather Wishful Thinking
When the President first claimed that the virus would magically go away in April several days ago, Factcheck.org took a closer look at the claim and here is what the experts then were saying about the President’s statement.
Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a Feb. 12 telebriefing, “I would caution overinterpreting” the idea that warmer weather would “weaken” the virus. Noting that the agency has had less than six weeks of experience with the outbreak, she said, “I’m happy to hope that it goes down as the weather warms up, but I think it’s premature to assume that. And we’re certainly not using that to sit back and expect it to go away.”
Here is the relevant Q and A from the CDC web site, verbatim:
Q: Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
A: It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
One important thing I (Monica) learned from the FAQs — if someone has the virus, they should not care for their pets. According to the CDC, although “there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.”
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