PHOENIX — "The (COVID-19) virus dies the quickest under direct sunlight" and does not survive in warm and humid conditions, Department of Homeland Security undersecretary for science and technology Bill Bryan said Thursday.
But the virus is still impacting areas with seasonally humid climates in the southeast and around the globe.
Team 12 Meteorologist Lindsay Riley says the state is entering the driest months of the year and that monsoonal humidity begins in July.
Other researchers are still unclear if COVID-19 will react the same way as other flu-like viruses, which often die off in the warmer months. In Arizona, the extreme heat could help in a different way.
"People do have a tendency to spend less time outside in social gatherings during the summer in Arizona,” said Arizona State University director of program development Dr. Timothy Lant.
Dr. Lant calls this the "summer effect," an organic social distancing unique to the extreme heat felt in the Arizona summer months.
As of now, health officials are unclear about dry heat, but the summer effect could be a game changer for possibly reopening the state.
“Both of those could lead to a potentially beneficial effect on transmission that enables us to think about an opening of some more businesses,” said Dr. Lant.
To be clear, officials don’t know what the “summer effect“ will actually be, and people should still practice social distance guidelines.