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Hotter, Humid Weather May Not Halt Spread Of COVID-19: Study

A new study has found a little or no association between latitude or temperature with epidemic growth of COVID-19 and a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission

Hotter, Humid Weather May Not Halt Spread Of COVID-19: Study
  • Summer is not going to make COVID-19 go away: Experts
  • Health measures like social distancing have positive effects: Study
  • There is no association between latitude with epidemic growth: Study

Toronto: Temperature and latitude are not associated with the spread of COVID-19 disease, according to a global study that found school closures and other public health measures are having a positive effect on containing the novel coronavirus. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at 144 geopolitical areas — states and provinces in Australia, the US, and Canada as well as various countries around the world — and a total of over 3,75,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: “COVID-19 Is Not Going To Disappear For Quite Sometime, Says AIIMS Chief Randeep Guleria

The researchers said China, Italy, Iran and South Korea were excluded because the virus was either waning in the case of China or in full disease outbreak at the time of the analysis in others. Peter Juni from the University of Toronto, and St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada said,

Our study provides important new evidence, using global data from the COVID-19 epidemic, that these public health interventions have reduced epidemic growth.

To estimate epidemic growth, the researchers compared the number of cases on March 27 with those on March 20. They determined the influence of latitude, temperature, humidity, school closures, restrictions of mass gatherings and social distancing measured during the exposure period of March 7 to 13.

The study found little or no association between latitude or temperature with epidemic growth of COVID-19, and a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission.

The results — that hotter weather had no effect on the pandemic’s progression — surprised the researchers. Mr. Juni said,

We had conducted a preliminary study that suggested both latitude and temperature could play a role. But when we repeated the study under much more rigorous conditions, we got the opposite result.

Also Read: Experts Weigh In On The Impact of India’s Lockdown 3.0 On The COVID-19 Curve

The researchers did find that public health measures, including school closures, social distancing and restrictions of large gatherings, have been effective. He said,

Our results are of immediate relevance as many countries, and some Canadian provinces and territories, are considering easing or removing some of these public health interventions.

“Summer is not going to make this go away,” said Professor Dionne Gesink, a coauthor and epidemiologist at Dalla Lana School of Public Health in Canada. Professor Gesink said,

It’s important people know that. On the other hand, the more public health interventions an area had in place, the bigger the impact on slowing the epidemic growth. These public health interventions are really important because they’re the only thing working right now to slow the epidemic.

The researchers noted several study limitations, such as differences in testing practices, the inability to estimate actual rates of COVID-19 and compliance with social distancing. When deciding how to lift restrictions, governments and public health authorities should carefully weigh the impact of these measures against potential economic and mental health harms and benefits, they said.

Also Read: Study Reveals Most Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 Survive With Standard Treatment


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