Valley virologist discusses how monsoon season affects COVID-19

As cases continue to spike in Arizona, some are wondering how the monsoon season might affect the spread of coronavirus.

FOX 10 spoke to virologist Jeffrey Langland, who is an instructor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe.

Langland says that while the spread is similar to that of the common cold or influenza, COVID-19 is difficult to contain because of one factor: time.

"It had a shorter incubation period, so we were able to contain it better, because people developed symptoms much more readily ... people that had that infection much more rapidly," said Langland.

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As for whether the warmer monsoon weather could affect the virus, Langland has some good news.

"So in the wintertime, if the virus were to stay on a door knob for maybe four hours, it's now going to survive for 20 minutes," the virologist said. "In the wintertime, if I'm coughing, my cough would have spread four feet. Now its going to spread maybe two feet -- but it doesn't mean it's gone."

MORE: Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

The virologist says the best solution to bring this pandemc to an end is a vaccine.

"Certainly the best solution to this would be to develop a vaccine to it," said Langland. "We can't just [immediately] develop a new vaccine like this when something comes along. It takes time to develop a both safe and effective vaccine."

Langland said his team are working in the global effort to find an effective treatment.

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

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