Story at a glance

  • Presidents Trump and Xi have a feeling the coronavirus will stop once the weather heats up.
  • Public health experts disagree, warning that we need to learn more about the virus.

During his first campaign rally in New Hampshire post-acquittal, President Trump pulled out all the usual stops when addressing his base in a crowded arena at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. 

Between reciting one of his favorite poems, “The Snake” — which he connects to immigration policy in the U.S. — and reviving the familiar chant “lock her up!” in regards now to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who helped supervise impeachment efforts, Trump addressed the fast-spreading coronavirus rocking mainland China to its core. 

Calling it “rough stuff,” President Trump assuaged the crowd that it will “work out fine,” and that with warmer weather, the virus will die.

“Generally speaking, the heat kills this kind of virus,” he clarified. 

He mentioned this same theory earlier during a national governor’s meeting at the White House. The New York Times reports that Trump, after praising China’s divisive response to the virus outbreak, said that “The virus that we’re talking about having to do, a lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat, as the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April.”

Trump elaborated to say that Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed with him during a recent dialogue between the two. 

According to President Trump’s hypothesis, the coronavirus follows influenza logic, in which it spreads easily in climates with lower temperatures and lower humidity, according to a study cited in a Harvard University blog post

This may not be the case with a coronavirus, however; speaking with reporters in the Times, health experts are skeptical.

Dr. Rebecca Katz, the director of the Center for Global Health Studies at Georgetown University, said that there is too much we don’t know before making a generalization like that.

Similarly, Dr. James M. Hughes, a professor emeritus of medicine at Emory University, said that “Relying on the fact that it’s going to warm up in April as reassurance that the virus will be controlled by then I think is arguable.”

Speaking with Business Insider, infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja said that four coronaviruses can exist within people and have "seasonality much like the flu."

Adalja added that cases of the Wuhan coronavirus could then "temper off as we leave spring and enter summer."

Conversely, the virus wouldn't disappear; it could reemerge during colder months in the year. 

"If you look at the trajectory of the virus and how it's spreading in communities, coupled with the fact that we deal with coronaviruses every year during flu and cold season, those factors point to this coronavirus becoming a seasonal virus," he told reporters.

Published on Feb 11, 2020