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Current Affairs

Hot and humid weather may not stop Coronavirus

Date: 12 May 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers say that temperature and latitude are not associated with the spread of the COVID-19 disease, adding that they found a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission.

 

Background

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

 

Details

  • The study 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 more than 3, 75,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

  • 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.

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

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

  • The authors 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 harm and benefits.