How do public health measures and climate impact the growth rate of COVID-19?

Covid-19, Coronavirus, Social Distance, Distancing

Bottom Line:

Public health measures such as social distancing and school closures substantially reduce COVID-19 growth, while climate factors such as humidity and temperature have little to no effect on the growth rate of COVID-19.


Peter, J. et al. Impact of climate and public health interventions on the COVID-19 pandemic: A prospective cohort study. CMAJ (2020). DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.200920

Date Published:

8 May 2020


It is essential to understand what factors slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to effectively address the disease. This study examined the impact of various public health measures (social distancing and school closures) and climate factors (temperature and humidity) on the growth rate of COVID-19. All states, provinces, and territories across the globe with 10 or more cases of COVID-19 were examined. The study team monitored the public health measures and climate in these regions during a one week period, and then measured the growth rate of COVID-19 in these regions one week later. Regions which had implemented public health measures such as: restriction of mass gatherings, school closures, or social distancing had substantially slower growth rates than regions without any public health measures. Areas with multiple public health measures in place simultaneously had even lower rates of COVID-19 spread. Most climate factors were not associated with COVID-19 growth rate, although regions with higher humidity did have slightly lower rates of COVID-19 spread. Overall, this study found that public health interventions are associated with markedly lower COVID-19 growth rate whereas climate-related factors have little to no relationship with the growth rate of COVID-19.

Summary by: Jacob Ferguson