Sunlight destroys COVID-19 within minutes, say scientists

Government lab experiments show that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures and high humidity, and is quickly destroyed by sunlight, giving hope that the warmer summer months could be a respite from the pandemic.

DHS science and technology directorate Bill Bryan


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DHS science and technology directorate


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Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate Bill Bryan, speaking at the daily White House task force briefing Thursday, says controlled tests on the virus under certain conditions concluded that the risk of transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight and under higher temperature and humidity conditions.

Sunlight will cut the virus's ability to grow in half, so the half-life will be 2 minutes, he said.

He added that the virus lives longer on non-porous services, and that for the UV rays to kill the virus, it must be in direct exposure to sunlight.  He used the example of a playground set, where the top bars exposed directly to the sunlight may not be hospitable to the disease, however, the bars underneath that aren't exposed could carry risk of the virus' transmission.

The coronavirus has several weak links within the chain of the virus, according to Bryan, which is where they focused their study.

Many scientists have warned that coronavirus is almost certain to return later this year.

Bryan said that summer-like conditions can provide conditions that may slow the spread of the disease, adding it may be a chance to get ahead of the disease.