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Dangerous heat heads to Las Vegas, mayor hopes warmth will kill COVID-19

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Posted at 9:46 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 02:44:14-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After a nationally televised, controversial interview, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is doubling down on her call to reopen the city, adding she hopes the warm desert climate may help eliminate COVID-19.

New research presented by authorities at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during a recent COVID-19 task force news conference showed the virus does not hold up well in heat and humidity.

"Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus on both surfaces and in the air," said Bill Bryan with DHS.

Bryan went on to say researchers have been using different temperatures and humidity levels to observe how the environments affect the virus.

Initial research seems to indicate the virus does not live as long in the air or on hard surfaces once exposed to ultraviolet light, according to Bryan.

"Heat can be used as a disinfectant, but again, we don't have an understanding yet as to how high the temperature needs to be on a surface to understand what the impact would be on killing this particular virus," said Dr. David Weismiller with the UNLV School of Medicine.

Dr. Weismiller says the research is promising, but many factors still need to be investigated.

"The issue here is not necessarily the heat, its the droplet size and when it is warmer and therefore the humidity tends to be higher in many regions, those droplets do not stay suspended, that is, what you're coughing out or sneezing does not stay suspended in the air but will typically fall to the ground and therefore does not make those around us as susceptible," said Dr. Weismiller.

Just days after the controversial interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on live television on Wednesday, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman went on Twitter to double down on her stance to reopen Las Vegas.

Her statement included reference to the Las Vegas weather and the potential impacts for the virus.

"Although it has not been clearly determined as to the effect that extreme warmth will have on the virus, it is assumed that it shall deter its ferocity," the statement read.

"Our hot summer coupled without unique economy compel us to be at the forefront of America's reopening," the statement ends.

READ: MAYOR CAROLYN GOODMAN RELEASES TWITTER STATEMENT REGARDING REOPENING

Dr. Weismiller warns the weather may not be the magic elixir cure for COVID-19, adding there are plenty of warm and even hot and humid climates, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia that are currently experiencing uncontrolled outbreaks.

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As of Friday evening, the National Weather Service in Las Vegas has issued an excessive heat watch in effect starting Tuesday.

Temperatures are expected to be 10-20 degrees above the seasonal average around Clark County.

Forecasters predict Las Vegas will hit at least 100 degrees on Tuesday.