Researchers from China’s Nanjing Medical University found a cluster of eight COVID-19 cases caught fron a single ‘super-spreader’ in public pool. Health experts had believed the deadly virus struggled to survive in hot and humid conditions but the latest study does not support that view.
Transmissibility showed no signs of weakening in warm and humid conditions.
It says the swimming pool super-spreader came into contact with eight people who used the facility or worked there and that all eight experienced coronavirus symptoms within days.
Temperatures at the centre – which included swimming pools, showers and a sauna – ranged from 25C (77F) to 41C (106F).
A previous study by researchers at Beihang University in China said warmer and more humid temperatures would likely slow the spread of the the deadly virus.
But the new study examined whether the 60 percent humidity and high temperature at the pool and sauna complex actually helped the rapid spread.
The superspreader told reserchers he went to the pool complex centre on January 18 after travelling to Wuhan and developed a fever the next day.
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on January 25 having already passed it on to seven other people who swam in the centre the same day he did.
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Symptoms including fever, cough, headache and chest congestion, appeared in the seven patients beyond the superspreader between six and nine days after visiting the pool.
A ninth patient was working at the centre and experienced onset of COVID-19 related symptoms on January 30.
The Nanjing scientists published a research letter explaining their findings and warning that, contrary to earlier studies, COVID-19 was not likely to slowdown when temperatures rise.
They said: “Previous studies have demonstrated that the transmission rate of a virus is significantly weakened in an environment with high temperature and humidity.
“However, judging from the results of this study, the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 showed no signs of weakening in warm and humid conditions.
“A total of eight individuals who used or worked in the bath centre experienced symptoms within 6 to 9 days of their visit to the centre, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 could spread and cause infection in such an environment.
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“The transmission routes may also be respiratory droplets or contact, but our results suggest that the cluster transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can still arise in an environment with high temperature and humidity.
“These results provide a potential epidemiological clue for this novel coronavirus.”
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