Warmer temperatures lessen COVID-19 spread, but control measures still needed

10-Jun-2021 9:00 AM EDT, by Imperial College London

Newswise — New research shows transmission of the virus behind COVID-19 varies seasonally, but warmer conditions are not enough to prevent transmission.

The study, led by Imperial College London researchers and published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to incorporate environmental data into epidemiological models of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

The team show that temperature and population density are the most important factors determining how easily the virus spreads, but only in the absence of mobility-restricting measures, such as lockdowns.

First author of the study Dr Tom Smith, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: "Our results show that temperature changes have a much smaller effect on transmission than policy interventions, so while people remain unvaccinated, governments mustn't drop policies like lockdowns and social distancing just because a seasonal change means the weather is warming up.

"However, our work also suggests that lower autumn and winter temperatures may lead to the virus spreading more easily in the absence of policy interventions or behavioural changes."

Seasonal variation has been a source of uncertainty in forecasts of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Other viruses, like flu viruses and other coronaviruses, are known to be affected by environmental factors. For example, high temperatures and low humidity reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets, preventing the spread of flu. High temperatures are also known to inactivate other coronaviruses in the air and on surfaces.

However, quantifying the effects of environmental factors including temperature, humidity, and UV radiation (sunshine) on SARS-CoV-2 transmission has been difficult during the pandemic, since human factors like population density and behaviour have been the main drivers of transmission.

The differences in interventions and case-counting between countries and regions also makes comparing environmental factors on a global scale difficult, especially as some countries, like Brazil, India and Iran, have high transmission despite having warmer climates.

As a result, few epidemiological models have included environmental data, and those that do assume the response of SARS-CoV-2 is identical to other coronaviruses, as there is a lack of SARS-CoV-2-specific data.

To fill this gap, the team, from the Departments of Life Sciences and Mathematics at Imperial, as well as Imperial's MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, and Utah State University, compared transmission across the USA. The country has a large range of climates with comparable policies and case numbers, allowing the impact of environmental factors to be teased out.

They found strong evidence that lower temperature and higher population density are both associated with higher SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Lead researcher Dr Will Pearse, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: "While temperature and population density do influence SARS-CoV-2 transmission, our findings re-confirm that the most important drivers are public policy and individual behaviour. For example, during lockdowns, there was no meaningful signature of temperature influencing transmission.

"This means, for example, that warmer regions should not expect to ease mobility restrictions before colder regions. This is especially true as warmer regions tend to have higher population densities - for example, the population in Florida is more densely packed than in Minnesota."

The researchers are now extending their study to new variants, and say their environmental results should be incorporated into future forecasts to enhance predictions of disease spread.

Study co-author Dr Ilaria Dorigatti, from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial, said: "We found evidence that, in the early phases of the pandemic, places with colder temperatures were associated with higher SARS-CoV-2 transmission intensities. However, the effect of climatic seasonality on SARS-CoV-2 transmission is weaker than the effect of population density and in turn, of policy interventions.

"This implies that, as we move towards summer in the Northern Hemisphere, public health policy decisions remain of critical importance for epidemic control and adherence to recommendations will continue to play a key role against SARS-CoV-2 transmission."

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5857
Released: 22-Jun-2021 5:10 PM EDT
Tecnología de inteligencia artificial y ECG puede rápidamente descartar infección por COVID-19
Mayo Clinic

La inteligencia artificial puede ofrecer un manera de determinar con exactitud que una persona no está infectada con la COVID-19. Un estudio internacional y retrospectivo descubrió que la infección por SARS-CoV-2, el virus que causa la COVID-19, provoca sutiles cambios eléctricos en el corazón. Un electrocardiograma (ECG) mediado por inteligencia artificial detecta estos cambios y puede servir como una prueba rápida y confiable para descartar la infección por COVID-19.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 4:45 PM EDT
Penn Medicine to Use $1M from City of Philadelphia for Additional Community Vaccination Clinics
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine will continue its collaboration with the West and Southwest Philadelphia communities to operate a series of COVID-19 vaccine clinics in partnership with community organizations, faith-based institutions, restaurants, barbershops, and even professional sports teams thanks to $1 million in funding from the City of Philadelphia, in partnership with PMHCC.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 12:30 PM EDT
Political Variables Carried More Weight Than Healthcare in Government Response to COVID-19
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Political institutions such as the timing of elections and presidentialism had a larger influence on COVID-19 strategies than the institutions organizing national healthcare, according to a research team led by a professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

22-Jun-2021 12:00 PM EDT
Study Testing How Well COVID-19 Vaccine Prevents Infection and Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Among University Students Now Expands to Include Young Adults Beyond the University Setting
Covid-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN)

The Prevent COVID U study, which launched in late March 2021 to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission among university students vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, has expanded beyond the university setting to enroll young adults ages 18 through 29 years and will now also include people in this age group who choose not to receive a vaccine.

Newswise: First Wave COVID-19 Data Underestimated Pandemic Infections
18-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT
First Wave COVID-19 Data Underestimated Pandemic Infections
American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Two COVID-19 pandemic curves emerged within many cities during the one-year period from March 2020 to March 2021. Oddly, the number of total daily infections reported during the first wave is much lower than that of the second, but the total number of daily deaths reported during the first wave is much higher than the second wave.

Newswise: PNNL AI Expert Harnesses Open-Source Data to Understand Human Behavior
Released: 22-Jun-2021 9:55 AM EDT
PNNL AI Expert Harnesses Open-Source Data to Understand Human Behavior
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

PNNL researchers used natural language processing and deep learning techniques to reveal how and why different types of misinformation and disinformation spread across social platforms. Applied to COVID-19, the team found that misinformation intended to influence politics and incite fear spreads fastest.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT
Engineering Nanobodies As Lifesavers When SARS-CoV-2 Variants Attack
Ohio State University

Scientists are pursuing a new strategy in the protracted fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus by engineering nanobodies that can neutralize virus variants in two different ways.

Released: 21-Jun-2021 3:45 PM EDT
Rare Neurological Disorder Documented Following COVID-19 Vaccination
American Neurological Association (ANA)

In two separate articles in the Annals of Neurology, clinicians in India and England report cases of a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome after individuals were vaccinated against COVID-19.

Newswise: New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
17-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT
New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
Harvard Medical School

Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection increased 30 percent for households with a recent birthday in counties with high rates of COVID-19 Findings suggest informal social gatherings such as birthday parties played role in infection spread at the height of the coronavirus pandemic No birthday-bash infection jumps seen in areas with low rates of COVID-19 Households with children’s birthdays had greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection than with adult birthdays

Newswise: COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Released: 21-Jun-2021 10:05 AM EDT
COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Washington University in St. Louis

A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that many, but not all, COVID-19 therapies made from combinations of two antibodies are effective against a wide range of virus variants, and that combination therapies appear to prevent the emergence of drug resistance.


Showing results

110 of 5857

close
7.33568