Coronavirus: Does Weather Affect Its Spread and Transmission

Scientists argue about the influence of meteorological factors and weather conditions on the transmission of coronavirus.

Doctors of Therapeutic Clinic of the Medical School of the National University of Athens. The Kapodistrias Theodora Psaltopoulou, Giannis Danasis, Panos Malandrakis and Thanos Dimopoulos (Rector of the EKPA) summarize the findings of a recent study by Francesco Sera and his colleagues. The report was published on October 13, 2021.

The aim of the researchers was to assess the impact of meteorological factors at the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to take into account the influence of other factors, for example, such as socio-economic and non-pharmacological parameters, as well as the transmission and spread of SARS-CoV-2.

What scientists have discovered
Researchers found a moderate non-linear correlation between mean temperature and SARS-CoV-2 reproductive number S based on data from 409 cities in 26 countries. Specifically, for every 10 ° C increase in temperature, the calculated Re-index decrease was of the order of 0.087 (95% CI 0.025 to 0.148).

In simple words, as the air temperature rises and the weather improves, the virus becomes less aggressive, although not so much that in a “hot time” one could relax and not wear a mask.

At the same time, the government’s adoption of strict non-pharmacological (social) measures to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2, such as restricting gatherings and the widespread use of masks, led to an estimated decrease in the Re index by 0.285 units.

In practice, the effect of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has led to a decrease in the reproductive index S SARS-CoV-2 6 times more than an increase in temperature.

In conclusion, the researchers concluded that the influence of meteorological factors at the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic was not particularly significant, while government intervention and human conscious behavior later influenced the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, the report of experts from the World Meteorological Organization explores the possible role of seasonality, since viral infections of the respiratory system often manifest one form or another, especially during the peak of the fall-winter season.

“The main mechanisms that determine the seasonality of respiratory viral infections are still not well understood. A combination of direct effects on the survival of the virus, on human resistance to infections, indirect effects of weather and seasons through changes in human behavior may have a place to be, ”the report says.

“Laboratory studies of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have shown that it survives longer in cold, dry conditions, as well as in low UV light. “However, these studies have not yet shown whether direct meteorological effects have a significant effect on the rate of transmission of the virus in real conditions,” the report says.

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