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Research shows warmer temperatures do slow COVID-19 transmission (but not by much)

02/06/2020

Research shows warmer temperatures do slow COVID-19 transmission (but not by much)

Research shows warmer temperatures do slow COVID-19 transmission (but not by much)


Warmer temperatures have long been associated with reduced transmission rates of some respiratory viruses. It’s one of the reasons why flu tends to have a much larger impact during winter months. Therefore, it stands to reason that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 could also be slowed or even halted as countries start to experience warmer temperatures.


Now, research seems to have confirmed what many people have thought.


For the study, researchers from the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts looked at the effect of temperature, precipitation, and UV index on COVID-19 case rates in the United States from January 22, 2020 through April 3, 2020. They found the rate of COVID-19 incidence does decrease as temperatures get warmer, up until 52 degrees F. After that, virus transmission does not decrease significantly.


Furthermore, while the overall impact remains modest, a higher UV index also assists in slowing the growth rate of new cases. Precipitation was not found to have any impact on the spread of the virus.


The findings will comes as welcome news as many states in America see warmer weather easing in. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen again in the fall and winter as temperatures drop.


[Related reading: What is COVID-19 antibody testing (and why is it useful?)]

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