Coronavirus and the Weather
Some recent studies have been released that seem to indicate that the Coronavirus is behaving similar to the flu and common cold in terms of which weather condition they thrive under. One particular study is by Dr. Mohammad M. Sajadi at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Sajadi’s study is called “Temperature and latitude analysis to predict potential spread and seasonality for COVID-19.” It goes into detail on which specific weather conditions help spread the coronavirus (COVID-19). There is an image in this blog post above, and also in his article (Figure 1) that shows several black circles on a world map. These black circles indicate some of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak. It started in China and spread throughout Europe, and then into the United States. This image also shows surface temperatures in celsius. As you can see, the black circles (areas with the most deaths and widespread impact from the disease) are in the 4° – 11° celsius temperature range, or 39° – 50° fahrenheit temperature range. The flu and common cold both seem to thrive best in areas with average temperatures in that range.
This study concludes that COVID-19, at least initially is behaving similar to the flu and common cold in terms of weather conditions, specifically temperatures and humidity. The study goes on to say that northern parts of North America may start to see more cases as southern areas begin to warm up. Of course there are other factors that help spread a virus (large group gatherings/lack of social distancing, and poor hygiene), but this stufy suggests that weather plays an important role. The weather doesn’t kill the virus, but warmer weather and lower humidity can help slow the spread of the virus. The hope is that COVID-19 cases will begin to decrease as we head later into the spring season and into summer, just like cold and flu cases decrease. But we can’t just rely on weather for assistance, we need to continue to social distance, wash our hands, and sanitize wherever we go. But the best thing to do is just stay home and get away from other people.
For more details and more graphs and maps, you can read the full study by Dr. Sajadi at this link: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=3550308. You can also listen to episode 4 of our 47 ABC Weather Wise podcast, which is available wherever you get your podcast.