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Coronavirus can linger in the air for 24 hours during winter

Vienna /  Covid-19 can remain infectious for up to 24 hours outdoors during the winter months, according to a study published on Monday by the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine (Vetmeduni).

The study analyzed the effect of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on coronavirus, both on surfaces and in aerosols, as it is known as a natural environmental virucide.

Reduced infections in summer…

The sun’s ability to kill viruses depends above all on the location and the season: in subtropical climates like Sao Paulo, Brazil, “the daily survival fraction is lower than ten-thousandths of all coronaviruses, during the whole year,” the report found.

In Reykjavik, Iceland, “such a reduction can be found in June and July only. But even in Iceland, the solar UV radiation is able to inactivate 90% within 30–100 minutes in summer, with complete sterilization within a day.”

To measure the relationship between solar radiation and the deactivation of SARS-Cov-2, scientists combined satellite data on the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth with the information available on the effectiveness of this type of radiation on coronaviruses.

According to Alois Schmalwieser, who led the study, solar radiation disinfection is “very effective in aerosols” outdoors, since it also has no alternative.

The virus is not very sensitive to temperature: it would take 50 or 60 degrees Celsius (to deactivate it), temperatures that you only find in the desert,” the researcher explained to Efe.

In cases of person-to-person infection, however, ultraviolet radiation would have little effect, since the transfer of the virus is much faster than its deactivation.

…but not in winter

During the coldest months of winter, when there are fewer hours of sunshine and clouds often cover the sky, the disinfecting effect of UV radiation is reduced considerably, especially in northern and central European countries.

According to researchers’ estimates, in April 2020 – just after the first wave of the pandemic – solar radiation had an impact on coronavirus sterilization throughout the European continent. That influence will be much less in December and throughout the winter.

“In countries like Portugal or Spain the difference will not be as great as in Vienna, where we have cloudy skies from November to February,” Schmalwieser points out.

The scientists’ next goal is to measure the precise relationship between the number of infections and the effect of solar radiation.

Schmalwieser believes that the virus’ greater ability to survive outdoors during the winter months could be countered by staying indoors longer, since the cold makes people go out less (although it is known that more infections occur indoors).  (November 16, 2020, EFE/PracticaEspañol)

News related in video (March 2020):


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Question 1
El texto trata de...
un estudio de la COVID-19 relacionada con la radiación solar.
los peligros que tiene la radiación solar.
cómo se originó la COVID-19.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que...
se midió la radiación ultravioleta para ver lo efectiva que es esta frente al coronavirus.
se desmiente que la radiación ultravioleta pueda tener un efecto desinfectante.
el efecto desinfectante de la radiación ultravioleta es mayor durante el invierno.
Question 3
Según el texto...
se desmiente que el SARS-CoV-2 pueda seguir siendo infeccioso al aire libre si pasan solo un par de horas.
se considera que este virus puede permanecer más tiempo en los espacios abiertos durante el invierno.
el coronavirus se desactivaría fácilmente con temperaturas inferiores a los 30 grados centígrados.
Question 4
Leyendo el texto entendemos que...
se pone en duda que el virus pueda transferirse de forma rápida.
se ve innecesario averiguar la posible relación entre el número de infecciones y el efecto de la radiación solar.
se registran más contagios en espacios cerrados que en espacios abiertos.
Question 5
Según el vídeo...
el virus puede sobrevivir en superficies en las que hayan caído gotitas respiratorias contaminadas.
se desmiente que la temperatura pueda influir en el tiempo de superviviencia del virus.
el coronavirus puede sobrevivir en el aire más de 30 horas.
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