Children's Hospital of Philadelphia uses weather data to track COVID-19 outbreaks

Katie Adams - Print  | 

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has developed a tool to track COVID-19 cases that is the first of its kinds to utilize historic weather data, according to The Philadelphia Citizen.

The tool uses temperature and humidity data from 389 U.S. counties experiencing some level of COVID-19 activity to predict the severity of future surges. COVID-19 transmission often seems to rise as temperatures do, which researchers say is likely attributed to people socializing more outside and the virus staying on surfaces longer during warmer months.

"There's a complex relationship between temperature and the transmission of the disease," Gregory Tasian, MD, one of the tool's developers, told The Philadelphia Citizen. "It's a very non-linear relationship."

The model also uses GPS data to track each county's increase in visits to nonessential locations and takes into account demographic data, such as population density, poverty levels, amount of people older than 65 and amount of people with preexisting conditions.

Though the tool cannot predict future COVID-19 spikes with complete accuracy, the research team working on it hopes it can help inform health systems what to expect in the coming months.


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