India’s Junior Health Minister’s makes bizarre sunbathing claim to fight coronavirus

Amidst spiralling cases of Covid-19 in the country, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey advocated “absorbing sunlight” as a possible precaution against coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament, Choubey said 10-15 minutes in the sun would build immunity as sunlight provides Vitamin D.

“From 11 am to 2 pm the sun is shining brightly. We should spend at least 10-15 minutes to absorb sunlight so that we get vitamin D which improves the immunity of our body and also kills such viruses. All should be aware of (this fact),” he said when asked about the spread of coronavirus.

While Choubey is right about Vitamin D and sunlight slowing down the growth of viruses, there is no proof yet that this can effectively kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told LA Times that while warmer weather does kill flu viruses and other coronaviruses, we have not observed the novel coronavirus for long enough to know how it will behave.

“But we do not know what this virus is going to do. We’ve got to assume that it’s going to get worse, and worse and worse, Fauci said.

Early studies had suggested that the virus can survive on surfaces for a good nine days if not wiped away by disinfectants.

Last week, The Poynter Institute’s Politifact debunked a similar claim.

Choubey’s comments irked many especially since he’s part of the health ministry which should be leading the fight.