Impact of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Transmission of COVID-19: A Modeling Study in China and the United States

BMJ Open, 11(2), e043863

55 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2020 Last revised: 22 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jingyuan Wang

Jingyuan Wang

Beihang University (BUAA)

Ke Tang

Institute of Economics, School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University

Kai Feng

Beihang University (BUAA)

Xin Lin

Beihang University (BUAA) - Department of Computer Science

Weifeng Lv

Beihang University

Kun Chen

University of Connecticut

Fei Wang

Cornell University - Cornell University

Date Written: March 9, 2020

Abstract

We aim to assess the impact of temperature and relative humidity on the transmission of COVID-19 across communities after accounting for community-level factors such as demographics, socioeconomic status, and human mobility status. A retrospective cross-sectional regression analysis via the Fama-MacBeth procedure is adopted. We use the data for COVID-19 daily symptom-onset cases for 100 Chinese cities and COVID-19 daily confirmed cases for 1,005 U.S. counties. A total of 69,498 cases in China and 740,843 cases in the U.S. are used for calculating the effective reproductive numbers. Regression analysis of the impact of temperature and relative humidity on the effective reproductive number (R value). Statistically significant negative correlations are found between temperature/relative humidity and the effective reproductive number (R value) in both China and the U.S. Higher temperature and higher relative humidity potentially suppress the transmission of COVID-19. Specifically, an increase in temperature by 1 degree Celsius is associated with a reduction in the R value of COVID-19 by 0.026 (95% CI [-0.0395,-0.0125]) in China and by 0.020 (95% CI [-0.0311, -0.0096]) in the U.S.; an increase in relative humidity by 1% is associated with a reduction in the R value by 0.0076 (95% CI [-0.0108,-0.0045]) in China and by 0.0080 (95% CI [-0.0150,-0.0010]) in the U.S. Therefore, the potential impact of temperature/relative humidity on the effective reproductive number alone is not strong enough to stop the pandemic. This paper was previously circulated under the title “High Temperature and High Humidity Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19”.

Note: Funding: This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2019YFB2102100 to Jingyuan Wang) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61572059 and 71531001 to Jingyuan Wang and U1811463 to Weifeng Lv).

Declaration of Interest: There is no competing interest declaration for all authors.

Keywords: COVID-19, Transmission, Effective Reproductive Number, Temperature, Humidity

JEL Classification: I1

Suggested Citation

Wang, Jingyuan and Tang, Ke and Feng, Kai and Lin, Xin and Lv, Weifeng and Chen, Kun and Wang, Fei, Impact of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Transmission of COVID-19: A Modeling Study in China and the United States (March 9, 2020). BMJ Open, 11(2), e043863, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3551767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3551767

Jingyuan Wang

Beihang University (BUAA) ( email )

37 Xue Yuan Road
Beijing 100083
China

Ke Tang (Contact Author)

Institute of Economics, School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University ( email )

No.1 Tsinghua Garden
Beijing, 100084
China

Kai Feng

Beihang University (BUAA) ( email )

37 Xue Yuan Road
Beijing 100083
China

Xin Lin

Beihang University (BUAA) - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Beijing, 100083
China

Weifeng Lv

Beihang University

37 Xue Yuan Road
Beijing 100083
China

Kun Chen

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Fei Wang

Cornell University - Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

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