President Trump repeated his belief that a coronavirus outbreak in China could subside when temperatures rise with the changing seasons, despite expert opinion that it’s too early to make such a linkage.
Speaking to US governors at the White House, Trump said the temperature issue arose last week in his telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
“The heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus,” Trump said, citing an assessment Xi offered him over the phone.
“That would be a good thing,” Trump went on.
Earlier, Trump said “a lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat.”
More on this: Trump first raised his theory about coronavirus and warmer weather in a tweet last week. Afterward, infectious disease experts told CNN that it's too early to say whether warmer temperatures would weaken the virus.
"It would be reckless to assume that things will quiet down in spring and summer," said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.
"We don't really understand the basis of seasonality, and of course we know we absolutely nothing about this particular virus," Hotez said.
"His hope is our hope," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, referring to Trump's tweets. "But we don't have knowledge that it will do that."
In his remarks at the White House, Trump said China was “doing a good job” containing the coronavirus, even as the disease spreads and the death toll rises.
Yesterday alone, the coronavirus — which originated in Wuhan — killed 97 people. It has killed 910 people globally since the outbreak began, according to authorities. More than 40,000 people have been infected.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed 398 people under investigation for the novel coronavirus in 37 states, according to an update posted to the agency's website on Monday. Of them, 12 have tested positive, 318 negative and 68 are still pending.
Trump touted those numbers on Monday, saying “many of them are in good shape now.”