Springtime for Trump and the Coronavirus

Springtime for Trump and the Coronavirus

Trump has been counting on April or Springtime to magically kill off the Coronavirus.  Epidemiologists say that this is not guaranteed.  Furthermore, they are not even sure of the mechanism that causes this phenomena to take place in some viruses.  The fact that Trump had to learn this from Xi Jinping, rather than use the vast medical resources of the National Institute of Health (with $41 billion budget), plus our entire medical establishment (7,000 epidemiologists), plus the weekly meetings of his virus response team, is shocking.  Or is it just habitual name-dropping by the narcissist?  According to the Global Health Security Index, the US is the leading prepared country in the world for pandemics.  

Besides the physics questions of droplet spread and survival on surfaces in a previous article, there is this important question.  Some suggested reasons for the virus extinction are effects of the increased temperature and the increased humidity, yet to be spelled out.  I would guess that the increased humidity makes denser air, and the humidity droplets coalesce to the virus and deactivate it or at least bring down the range of the droplets by adding to their mass.  It was emphasized to me that the viruses are not living creatures like bacteria to be killed, as Trump implied.  Heat or humidity may just interfere with the lipid surface or the virus’ ability to enter cells and multiply.

So here is where I win the Nobel Prize for Medicine, which I am not sharing with Trump.  To end the Coronavirus epidemic, all we have to do is set our thermostats to over 80º F (26.7º C), and turn on a humidifier, as my mother used to do when I got sick.  Or, come to Southern California this week, where the same will occur outside.  Since nobody has observed this preventing virus spread yet, it may not be that simple.

Another theory is that in winter, we do not get enough vitamin D.  This is easy to test by the supposed immunity of those who take vitamin D supplements.  Some of us need to go around covered in the summer, and if among us viruses still lingered, that would have shown up.

A previous theory was that people get out more in the summer and spend less time in confined spaces with others.  But people go to work in factories every day, so this wouldn’t stop the viruses.

It has been pointed out that there are 85 Coronavirus cases in Singapore where it is summer now.  The high there is 90º F (32.2º C) this week, with a low of 78º F (25.6º C).   The humidity there is 85%.  We have to see how the virus spreads there.

Three other problems with the Trump Administration are the secrecy, the disposals of experts, especially scientists, and his lack of policies.  Nobody seemed to know that he did not want sick passengers from the Diamond Princess to be transported to America.  The secrecy works both ways, blocking information from getting to the President, as well as any negative news, because he surrounds himself with obsequious loyalists.  I just read today in the New York Times that 6,700 returnees from China are under observation in California.

We really have to study how this ‘magical’ summer decline of viruses occurs.  A first step would be to stop cutting the NIH budget.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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