Not a dream message but a thought that dropped into my mind, which led me to think – Are viruses subject to gravity?

Gravity is the force that attracts two bodies toward each other, the force that causes apples to fall toward the ground and planets to orbit the sun. The more massive an object, is the stronger the gravitational pull.

Historically, philosophers such as Aristotle thought that heavier objects accelerate toward the ground faster. But later experiments showed that wasn’t the case. The reason that a feather will fall more slowly than a bowling ball is because of the drag from air resistance, which acts in the opposite direction as the acceleration due to gravity. [1]

Apparently, while Covid-19 spreads through the air on respiratory droplets, there is one fact limiting how far the virus can travel : its weight. Corona viruses are physically larger and heavier than other known respiratory viruses. So while Covid-19 infects hosts via mucus droplets, its infectious range is lower relative to other viruses because its mass limits how far it can travel before succumbing to gravity. Case in point, corona viruses can only travel about one to two meters, less than seven feet, before they start falling to the ground. [2] Therefore the 1.5 metre social isolation rule to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is working with the law of gravity.

Some early observations of Covid-19 hints that outbreaks may also vary with the seasons and that the corona virus has a preference for cool and dry conditions and that there may be a link between the virus, temperature, wind speed and relative humidity. [3]

Climate comes into play because it affects the stability of the virus outside the human body when expelled by coughing or sneezing. The greater the time the virus remains stable in the environment, the greater its capacity to infect other people and become epidemic. Coronaviruses are a family of so-called “enveloped viruses”. This means they are coated in an oily coat, studded with proteins that stick out like spikes of a crown. Research on enveloped viruses suggests that this oily coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat than those that don’t have one. In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state, much like fat from cooked meat will harden as it cools, to protect the virus for longer when it is outside the body.

As discussed, research has shown that although the coronavirus can only travel up to about one to two meters before succumbing to the Law of Gravity, depending on the climatic conditions, the coronavirus can survive for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel at temperatures of between 21-23C and in relative humidity of 40%. Research on other types of corona viruses suggests that they can survive for more than 28 days at 4C. Scary, facts and the reason why we are being told to constantly wash our hands and not touch our eyes, nose or mouth.

The weather can also mess with our own immune systems as well making us more vulnerable to infections. There is some evidence to suggest the vitamin D levels in our bodies can have an effect on how vulnerable we are to infectious diseases. It makes sense then that the warmer times of the years are likely to be when the spread of the virus may be less.

Over exposure to UV radiation is well known to be harmful to different skin types and Australians are well aware of the damage it can cause. But is there a balance that is required between the serious harm of too much sunlight and the very real need for sunlight to produce Vitamin D, which is essential for a healthy immune system.

Research carried out by the National Biodefence Analysis and Countermeasures Centre described the “most striking observation to date” in relation to the coronavirus is that ultraviolet rays from the sun may have a powerful affect on it. It was reported that “the virus is dying at a much more rapid pace, just from exposure to high temperatures and just from exposure to humidity”. However, the finding comes with a word of caution that although the onset of spring and summer could give the impression that the coronavirus has been successfully contained, infections could increase again in the 2020-2021 winter season. [4]

The bottom line is, that all of life including the coronavirus, is subject to the laws of nature. As human beings we needs to start ‘tuning’ in again to our relationship with the natural world and become aware of our own natural cycles and how they interact with the cycles of nature. We need to remember that we are a part of nature, not separate from it, and that our very survival depends on understanding and respecting this relationship.