Weather temperature not linked to coronavirus spread, study finds

A new study found that there is no link between the spread of the new coronavirus and meteorological factors such as temperature and ultraviolet radiation, according to MedPage Today.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, examined confirmed COVID-19 cases reported by the National Health Commission and the Provincial Health Commissions of China. Researchers used the cumulative number of cases from 224 cities to calculate the basic reproduction number for 62 cities that had more than 50 cases as of Feb. 10. The basic reproduction number is the expected number of secondary cases generated by an initial infectious individual.

The researchers also examined the average daily temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, relative humidity and UV radiation in the 224 cities from early January to early March.

The study shows that there was no significant link between relative humidity, maximum temperature and minimum temperature with either the COVID-19 incidence rate or basic reproduction number. UV radiation also was not associated with either the cumulative incidence rate or basic reproduction number, suggesting an increase in UV exposure will not affect the spread of the virus.

Thus, it appears that the new coronavirus does not follow patterns similar to other respiratory illnesses, where weather variables play a role in spreading disease, such as SARS and influenza.

"It might be premature to count on warmer weather to control COVID-19," study authors concluded.

A National Academies of Sciences panel echoed this notion to the White House April 7, according to The Washington Post. The panel told federal officials that it is unlikely the virus' spread will be greatly reduced when warmer weather returns.



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