COVID-19 and climatic factors: A global analysis.
Environmental research 2020 ; 193: 110355.
PubMed ID : 33127399
PMCID : PMC7591297
It is unknown if COVID-19 will exhibit seasonal pattern as other diseases e.g., seasonal influenza. Similarly, some environmental factors (e.g., temperature, humidity) have been shown to be associated with transmission of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, but global data on their association with COVID-19 are scarce.
To examine the association between climatic factors and COVID-19.
We used multilevel mixed-effects (two-level random-intercepts) negative binomial regression models to examine the association between 7- and 14-day-lagged temperature, humidity (relative and absolute), wind speed and UV index and COVID-19 cases, adjusting for Gross Domestic Products, Global Health Security Index, cloud cover (%), precipitation (mm), sea-level air-pressure (mb), and daytime length. The effects estimates are reported as adjusted rate ratio (aRR) and their corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
Data from 206 countries/regions (until April 20, 2020) with ≥100 reported cases showed no association between COVID-19 cases and 7-day-lagged temperature, relative humidity, UV index, and wind speed, after adjusting for potential confounders, but a positive association with 14-day-lagged temperature and a negative association with 14-day-lagged wind speed. Compared to an absolute humidity of <5 g/m, an absolute humidity of 5-10 g/m was associated with a 23% (95% CI: 6-42%) higher rate of COVID-19 cases, while absolute humidity >10 g/m did not have a significant effect. These findings were robust in the 14-day-lagged analysis.
Our results of higher COVID-19 cases (through April 20) at absolute humidity of 5-10 g/m may be suggestive of a 'sweet point' for viral transmission, however only controlled laboratory experiments can decisively prove it.