Warmer temperatures lessen COVID-19 spread, but control measures still needed, study finds

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Sumary of Warmer temperatures lessen COVID-19 spread, but control measures still needed, study finds:

  • New research shows transmission of the virus behind COVID-19 varies seasonally, but warmer conditions are not enough to prevent transmission..
  • The study, led by Imperial College London researchers and published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to incorporate environmental data into epidemiological models of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19..
  • The team show that temperature and population density are the most important factors determining how easily the virus spreads, but only in the absence of mobility-restricting measures, such as lockdowns..
  • For example, high temperatures and low humidity reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets, preventing the spread of flu..
  • The differences in interventions and case-counting between countries and regions also makes comparing environmental factors on a global scale difficult, especially as some countries, like Brazil, India and Iran, have high transmission despite having warmer climates..
  • As a result, few epidemiological models have included environmental data, and those that do assume the response of SARS-CoV-2 is identical to other coronaviruses, as there is a lack of SARS-CoV-2-specific data..
  • To fill this gap, the team, from the Departments of Life Sciences and Mathematics at Imperial, as well as Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, and Utah State University, compared transmission across the USA..
  • The country has a large range of climates with comparable policies and case numbers, allowing the impact of environmental factors to be teased out….

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