Researchers Find That Lower Temperatures Boost Coronavirus Transmission

The coronavirus pandemic has affected many industries and economies worldwide, in addition to causing the deaths of more than 500,000 people in America and 2.3-plus million people globally. Understanding how seasonal temperature changes affect virus transmission is crucial in decreasing the spread of the virus in the future.

The virus that causes the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is part of a larger coronavirus family, which aren’t spread as easily in warmer parts and during humid times in the year. Instead, the spread of these viruses increases in less humid times in cooler places.

With this information in mind, researchers from the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, University of Louisville, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and other institutions hypothesize that atmospheric temperatures would also impact SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

To prove this, the scientists compared the number of coronavirus cases that were logged last year in 50 nations in the northern hemisphere between January 22 and April 6 to daily data of low temperatures. Their findings, which were reported in “PLOS ONE,” demonstrate that as the temperatures increased, the rate of new coronavirus cases declined.

Their analysis of collected data shows that between 30–100º F, a one-degree rise in everyday low temperature was linked to a 1% drop in the rate of coronavirus cases. On the other hand, a one-degree drop in temperature was linked to a 3.7% surge in coronavirus cases. It should be noted that because the researchers began examining the data in the pandemic’s early days, these findings weren’t influenced significantly by any social efforts or restrictions that were imposed later in an attempt to contain the virus.

The director of the Brown Envirome Institute and co-author of the study, Aruni Bhatnagar, stated that the research showed that the coronavirus had a seasonal component, adding that the impact temperature had on its transmission rate was also modified by factors such as time spent indoors and social distancing. He asserted that it was various factors combined that ultimately led to the spread of the coronavirus, not one primary factor.

The researchers noted that while the U.S. recorded surges in coronavirus cases over the summer, cooler summer temperatures may have led to even more cases. The scientists came to the conclusion that summer months would be linked to slowed rates of coronavirus transmission, much like other seasonal respiratory viruses. They noted that this seasonal effect could come in handy in helping time the virus’ reoccurrence and in planning for social gatherings.

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