BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Popular Filipino band Apo Hiking Society was on the taxi’s radio late in the morning yesterday
Pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay (Raindrops falling on the rooftops)
Di maiwasang gumawa ng di inaasahang bagay (Can’t help but do unlikely things)
Laklak ng laklak ng beer magdamagan (Drinking beer until early in the morning)
May kahirapan at di maiwasan… (Facing difficulties that can’t be avoided)
Outside the SUV, the heat was almost blinding, the roads in the city half clogged with cars on the first day of a fresh month.
380C degrees, the weather app said.
Seen through the electrical and phone wires, the sky was a pale blue, almost cloudless except for a faint stretch of clouds to the west.
Very thin, like a cotton ball shredded by a frisky puppy.
Cirrostratus cloud, science teachers used to tell us.
“That could be bad news for the virus, I hope it helps stop the spread,” El Cid Familiaran, the vice mayor of Bacolod City says.
Familiaran, who was one of the first frontliners in the fight against COVID here, chaired the local inter-agency task force on nCov after Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued an executive order January, last year, naming him as head of the body.
Summer is in, or to be technically correct based on the State weather bureau classification, the hot, dry season.
Does it mean the virus is out?
The reputable medical site WebMD said in a 2021 February article on its website that while “Many had hoped that the new coronavirus would go away as the summer weather warmed and got more humid. Despite the fact that the virus does not do well in heat, the hot summer temperatures had no real effect on it.”
The article, titled “Can Coronavirus Survive the Heat?” also pointed out
“Some strains of the virus can change depending on the environment. They may survive and thrive in various geographic regions or climates. There is no way to accurately predict how the virus responds in heat and humidity, or for that matter, cool and dry temperatures, outside laboratory experiments.”
It is also important to note, the article points out, that “Even when scientists study real-world examples, the evidence is unclear. Though some viral illnesses seem to slow in the summer months, this isn’t always the case. In countries such as Australia and Iran, COVID-19 spread very quickly at the beginning of the pandemic despite warm and humid weather. Remember that flu season is typically during the winter.”
Just last year, on 9 June, medical website Healthline also released an article on the issue with the title” Hot Weather May Make It Harder for the Coronavirus to Survive on Surfaces.”
“Hot temperature may stop the novel coronavirus from surviving on surfaces,” it said, and pointed out” An important factor in virus transmission is how long it takes a droplet to evaporate because it can’t survive in a dry environment.”
The Healthline article was published six months after the outbreak in Wuhan, China while that of WebMD came out more than a year after the pandemic.
“The likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 surviving on a surface increases roughly 5 times in a humid environment compared to a dry one. Higher temperatures can kill the virus more quickly,” it added.
While these are only two articles on the correlation between heat and COVID, physician. Chris Sorongon agrees with the view that there is no conclusive link between the level of temperature and the speed of COVID’s spread.
He noted in particular that a hot season had not been proven to prevent the spread.
“The literature does not tell us that,” he said.
If this were true, COVID would not have spread in the Philippines though he points out that there are other factors that must be considered, including close family ties and cultural practices like families sleeping together in tight spaces.