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COVID-19 Heat Theory

Written By: Kaylee Zhou

Back in March, it was rumored that the summer heat might help defeat Covid-19; many Americans clung onto this hope of optimism throughout March, April, and May. Since diseases such as the flu have their patterns of high infection rates in the winter and low rates in the summer, scientific articles speculated that Covid would mimic this behavior. It was thought that Covid would melt away with the heat, humidity, and sunlight by the beginning of June, and the United States could return to normal by July (Goodell, 2020). However, it is now the beginning of August, and we know that this is not the case. 

The months of June and July saw  skyrocketing cases across the country, particularly in the warmest states such as Arizona, with a high of 116 degrees (Pulver, 2020). To take a closer look at Florida, one of the hottest states and the one with the least restrictions, it’s cases peaked on July 12 with 15,299 (Lush et al., 2020). Although Florida’s number of cases has now decreased to around 9,000 cases a day, there is still much work that needs to be done. 

This virus has stumped many professionals and researchers because of its fast infection and contamination rates. Colin Carlson, an assistant research professor at the Global Health Science and Security Center at Georgetown University, has a different opinion about the link between the heat and virus than most scientists. He mentioned that many scientific articles were released in favor of suggesting that seasonality would play a huge role in eliminating Covid; however, he argued that most of the articles were neither written by infectious disease experts nor peer-reviewed. Carlson believes that scientists pushed out flawed details about science that led political leaders to use it to their own benefit (Goodell, 2020). 

Scientists worldwide have been working long hours trying to invent a vaccine and understand the complexity of this virus. Many of them are still left confused even after studying and analyzing Covid for the past 7 to 8 months. Peter Hotez, a dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University, has stated, “In the lab, experiments on respiratory viruses have shown that sunlight, temperature, and especially humidity have an impact on transmission. Hospitals, for example, routinely use UV light to kill viruses” (Goodell, 2020). However, Hotez makes sure to mention that what happens in the lab and the real world are two very different things. Although the lab provided positive feedback involving the application of light to the virus, the real world has not benefited from this situation. 

Professional epidemiologists have stated that many Americans tend to be consumed and satisfied with whatever might be a cure for the virus or a reason that it’s safe. Marshall Shepard, the director of the atmospheric science program at the University of Georgia, calls this belief “wishcasting.” It’s the practice where people make up scenarios in their minds, but none of the scenarios are backed up with science or data (Pulver, 2020). These epidemiologists strongly believe that the heat theory was a “wishcasting” for Covid to be eliminated.  

Goodell, Jeff. “Scientists Thought (and Trump Insisted) Summer Heat Would Slow COVID-19. It Hasn’t. Why?” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 15 July 2020,

Lush, Tamara. “Florida Reports Largest, Single-Day Increase in COVID Cases.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 12 July 2020, 

Pulver, Dinah Voyles. “’Mixed Messages from Day One’: Rising Cases Prove Summer Is No Barrier to COVID-19.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 20 July 2020,

Regan, Helen. “Florida Reports More than 9,500 Additional Resident Covid-19 Cases   .” CNN, Cable News Network, 1 Aug. 2020,

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