Will summer stop the virus? Local epidemiologist says no

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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Emily Smith, an epidemiologist at Baylor University, has been tracking the new coronavirus since it first arrived in Central Texas.

She has created a the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist Facebook page to which she posts weekly to address common questions about the virus and says people tend to follow her lead when it comes to following guidelines.

In some of her most recent posts, Smith talks about whether summer could make the virus disappear.

"There is not good data to support that going outside will protect us," Smith said.

"It looks like it needs a combination of high heat for an extended period of time, humidity plus direct sunlight to stop it."

As Texas continues to reopen this week, her advice is to take is slow.

"We are seeing increases in cases in Texas at the same time we are opening up and they were infected prior to opening up, because it takes two to 14 days for someone to show symptoms," Smith said.

She expects it to take another 14 days before the results of the first phase of the reopening are clear.

"I think what is happening is we're trying to do it too quickly. Either as a state or just as individuals because we're all just ready to get out," she said.

But despite the desire to leave the house, Smith says nothing has changed about the virus, and that people should act the same way they did at the beginning of the pandemic in terms of washing hands, social distancing and staying home when possible.

"Nothing has changed about the virus. Its still as contagious. What we saw and were fearful about the virus six weeks ago is the same as what we're fearful of now," Smith said.

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