Dr. Mehmet Oz said on Tuesday that warmer weather should slow down the spread of coronavirus, but cautioned that Americans will have to brace for the second wave of infections next winter.
“Human behavior changes when it is warmer outside so you can naturally socially distance a little bit more, the stability of the virus and transmission rates are altered when it is warmer. The virus doesn’t want to be in warm weather, it likes to be in cold weather, it can travel further in the air,” the host of "The Dr. Oz Show" told “Fox & Friends.”
Oz reacted to White House Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx's appearance on "Fox & Friends," where she said that officials will be watching how the coronavirus spreads in warm weather in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
"Our job in the White House is to ensure for whatever happens [to the U.S.] in the fall," Birx said.
The novel coronavirus that has ravaged the globe and brought the world's economy to a standstill may not diminish significantly in warmer weather, according to a report from a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings, from a report presented to the White House on Tuesday, are an attempt to determine how COVID-19 may or may not behave once temperatures start to warm up in late spring and summer. But there's a lot about the virus that is still not understood by scientists.
"The laboratory data available so far indicate reduced survival of SARS-CoV-2 at elevated temperatures, and variation in temperature sensitivity as a function of the type of surface on which the virus is placed. However, the number of well-controlled studies available at this time on the topic remains small," the report states.
Oz pressed the need for watching the coronavirus as it impacts the Southern Hemisphere in order to prepare for another wave of spread in the winter.
“We want to see what happens in the Southern Hemisphere so we can predict what might be coming back to us in the winter. There's no reason to think we won't get more of an impact from the virus this winter, especially when you add influenza. So we want to be better prepared,” Oz said.
He added that many Americans may have one or more "risk factors" for contracting a severe case of COVID-19, but are not aware of it. Oz stressed that a significant number of people suffer from pre-diabetes or unknowingly have hypertension, complicating the efforts to fully reopen the country.
"If you don't know that you're vulnerable, you won't be able to distance yourself. ... Social distancing is critically important for the well-being of society. We need it desperately. This is an explosive infection. One person can spread it to six," he noted.