What is the impact of climate and temperature on the spread of COVID-19?

Sunset, Sky, Sea, Ocean, Setting, Sun, Golden Glow

Bottom Line:

Occurrence of COVID-19 is impacted by temperature and climate, where higher temperatures and levels of humidity are linked to lower incidence of COVID-19. However, greater sunshine exposure is also linked to increased rates of COVID-19.

Reference:

Paez, A. et al. A spatio‐temporal analysis of the environmental correlates of COVID‐19 incidence in Spain. Geographical Analysis (2020). https://doi.org/10.1111/gean.12241

Date Published:

8 June 2020

Synopsis:

Many questions have emerged regarding the spread of COVID-19, including both personal factors such as age and presence of underlying health conditions, as well as environmental factors. One such question has involved the impact of weather and climate in the spread of the disease, and whether it is subject to seasonal variations. This question has direct impact on regional policies related to physical distancing, opening businesses and public spaces, and returning to work. This study examines the influence of temperature, humidity, and sunshine exposure on the spread of COVID-19 in Spain. Using data over a period of 30 days between March and April, the authors linked weather patterns to disease spread, while also accounting for regional factors that would be unchanging, such as demographic information of the regions’ populations and GDP per capita. Overall, temperature increase was most strongly correlated with decreased rate of COVID-19. Humidity was also linked to decreased COVID-19 rates, while exposure to sunshine was linked to increased rates, though these two variables had less consistent findings. Regional GDP per capita (measure of economic wealth in each region) was positively linked to increased COVID-19 rates, while, perhaps surprisingly, population density and the percentage of older adults in the region were linked to lower rates of COVID-19.

Summary by: Jennifer Gutberg