The coronavirus is spreading just in time for spring, which means growing numbers of mosquitoes and ticks will be violating our social distancing guidelines.
Do we need to fear these blood-sucking pests will spread the virus?
In what might count as our first real break with the pandemic, the World Health Organization insists “the new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.”
“To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes,” the WHO reports.
“The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose,” according to the WHO.
It can also spread by touching surfaces that an infected person left the virus spread across.
The American Mosquito Control Association says there is also no proof ticks will infect us. This is despite their reputation as “vector pests...known to play a significant roles in the transmission of many critical diseases” such as West Nile Virus, according to PestWorld.org.
“For a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or tick bite, the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick,” the American Mosquito Control Association says.
Ticks and mosquitoes are apparently immune to the potentially fatal disease, which has infected nearly 70,000 Americans and killed more than 21,000 across the globe.
Person to person contact is still the chief way the virus spreads, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend social distancing of six feet, wearing gloves and using face masks. In doing so, Americans can avoid “respiratory droplets produced when infected people cough or sneeze.”
“These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” the CDC says.
No, but hot humid climates can still experience a spread of the virus, the WHO says.
But there is no also evidence colder weather or snow kills it, so it’s unclear if one season is worse than another, experts say.
“From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather,” the WHO reports. “The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.”
But some experts say they predict the warming weather could play a role in blunting the spread of COVID-19.
“As we move into warmer weather and people are more out in the open, I expect there to be a natural decrease, similar and consistent with the decrease with other upper respiratory tract infections,” Dr. Stefan Baral, an associate epidemiology professor at Johns Hopkins University, told the Boston Herald.
The Associated Press, however, put it like this: “Will heat stop the spread of new virus? No one really knows.”