Temperature, Humidity and Latitude Analysis to Predict Potential Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19
18 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2020 Last revised: 22 Aug 2021
Date Written: March 5, 2020
Background: A significant number of infectious diseases display seasonal patterns in their incidence, including human coronaviruses. Betacoronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are not thought to be seasonal.
Methods: We examined climate data from cities with significant community spread of COVID-19 using ERA-5 reanalysis, and compared to areas that are either not affected, or do not have significant community spread.
Findings: To date, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, has established significant community spread in cities and regions along a narrow east west distribution roughly along the 30-50o N’ corridor at consistently similar weather patterns consisting of average temperatures of 5-11oC, combined with low specific (3-6 g/kg) and absolute humidity (4-7 g/m3). There has been a lack of significant community establishment in expected locations that are based only on population proximity and extensive population interaction through travel.
Interpretation: The distribution of significant community outbreaks along restricted latitude, temperature, and humidity are consistent with the behavior of a seasonal respiratory virus. Additionally, we have proposed a simplified model that shows a zone at increased risk for COVID-19 spread. Using weather modeling, it may be possible to predict the regions most likely to be at higher risk of significant community spread of COVID-19 in the upcoming weeks, allowing for concentration of public health efforts on surveillance and containment.
Note: Funding: M.M.S supported by NIH grant 1R01AI147870-01A1.
Conflict of Interest: None to declare.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; novel coronavirus; coronavirus; temperature; latitude; seasonality
JEL Classification: J1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation