Could a Vacation in Eilat or Arad Prevent Coronavirus?

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Ein Gedi Beach at the Dead Sea. (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)

Could a vacation down south help prevent coronavirus infections? Dr. Tzvi Marom, head of Israeli medical technology firm Batm, believes that it could. Speaking to Yisrael Hayom, Marom, who is also head of the Hi-Tech Association of Israel, said that according to numerous studies, coronavirus dies off when the temperature reaches 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) in dry climates. “We are working to verify these studies, and if they are verified, we should encourage the elderly, who are among the most vulnerable, to travel to Eilat or the Dead Sea.”

Marom bases his claim on what he said was a growing body of medical literature and several studies that indicate that the virus cannot survive or becomes ineffective in hot and dry conditions. “These are not clinical studies, but there are enough of them to justify further research,” he said.

His company has been working on diagnostic tests to determine if individuals are suffering from coronavirus infection, and Marom said that a test had been developed that would give a quick indication of infection. Marom said that he would like to conduct a study in Eilat and Arad, a community at the edge of the Judean Desert noted for its dry conditions. “If we find that only a very small group of people in these communtities are infected, we could send at-risk individuals for vacations in places like Eilat and the Dead Sea.

“Arad is already known as a haven for those suffering from asthmatic issues,” Marom said. “Obviously they will not invite their grandchildren to visit them, but a stay in one of these places could help the elderly ride out the storm, giving them a nice vacation and thus solving their problem.” When the weather in other parts of Israel turns hot and dry with the approach of summer, many of the most vulnerable would be able to go home.

Marom said that “to my knowledge the Prime Minister is interested in determining if the virus is sensitive to heat and dryness. We should be testing individuals who live in these areas” to determine if they indeed suffer from a lower percentage of infection, he said, adding that until such determinations are made, following the rules on social distancing was key. “There needs to be greater supervision in places like old age homes, where vulnerable populations may be less disciplined,” he added.