US President Donald Trump said Monday that he expected the Corona virus outbreak, which killed more than 900 people, to go away in April due to the hotter weather.
"The virus … it usually goes away in April," he told White House reporters, adding, "The heat generally kills this type of virus."
The SARS-like pathogen has infected 40,000 people since it appeared in China at the end of last year, while 12 cases of varying severity have been confirmed in the United States.
Trump praised China – and its leader Xi Jinping – for the Asian giant's efforts to curb the spread.
"(I) had a long conversation with President Xi two nights ago," Trump said.
"He feels very confident … (that) during April the heat generally kills this type of virus. That would be a good thing."
For reasons that are not fully understood, flu-like viruses thrive in colder, drier seasons, and the new corona virus could catch up and slow the outbreak with the arrival of milder weather.
But Trump's forecast contradicts the leading U.S. health authorities, who have warned against commenting on the course of the epidemic.
"The problem is we don't know," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters on Friday.
"And any kind of prediction would be badly advised because we really have so many unknowns," he added.
He said that in the "best scenario", the Chinese would contain the outbreak and stop international expansion.
But he added that China cannot control the outbreak, or that the virus, even if it succeeds, could spread to a country without the resources to track down contacts and isolate new cases.
A January 31 newspaper published by the British medical magazine The Lancet warned that even if the epidemic subsided at its epicenter in central China's Wuhan in April, it could continue to grow globally into the second half of the year.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)