Warmer temperatures might be slowing coronavirus transmission

It is a known fact that warmer temperatures tend to reduce the transmission rates of majority of the viruses. Particularly, the ones related to respiratory issues, e.g. Influenza. A recent speculation suggests that the same is true for coronavirus.
In the past 8 months, coronavirus has spread to almost every country on the globe. Effecting more than half a million people and causing thousands of deaths, the virus is still actively spreading. Forcing nations into lockdown, the crisis has caused an economic crisis, along with a severe epidemic.
Based on the behavior of respiratory viruses, it is possible that warmer temperature might be affecting the coronavirus transmission. The impact can play a vital role in predicting if the following months would be better.

Research study

A research team from Mount Auburn Hospital, studied the effects of precipitation, temperature and UV index on the spread of the coronavirus. The analysis was primarily based on the death rate during the spring months.
A medical journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, published the findings. Results indicated that the transmission rate of coronavirus did slow down up till 52 degrees Fahrenheit. However, increasing the temperature further had no impact on the virus.
Further, a greater UV index also reduced the average number of new cases per day. However, the impact was not that significant. Precipitation had no effect on the virus whatsoever.
The researchers evaluated regular reported instances of the coronavirus cases over the period of 2.5 months, from 22 January to 3 April. John Hopkins University’s Dashboard for coronavirus was the primary source for the data. Information about the environmental factors was taken from the National Centers for Environmental Information.


Researchers analyzed the two datasets using advanced data science techniques. However, the results did not show any promise as to a possible slowing down of the disease. According to Shiv T. Sehra, Director Internal Medicine Residency Program at the hospital, it is unlikely that the coronavirus’s spread would slow down in the summers due to the increasing temperatures.
The study divided the data into five possible scenario categories: < 30 degrees, 30 – 40 degrees, 40 – 50 degrees, 50 – 60 degrees and > 60 degrees. All temperature measurements were in Fahrenheit. The team observed the maximum number of new cases on days when the temperature was below 30 degrees. Similarly, the least number of new cases were observed when the average temperature was above 50 degrees.
As per the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as fall and winter draw near, the crisis may get worse. The drop in temperatures will most likely cause a surge in the number of cases. Sehra stated, “We also caution that the disease may get worse in the fall and winter months.”


Even though, the research did not show promising results, it is to note that there were a lot of limitations in the process. The study extrapolated the climate related data for the whole nation. Further, the data was from a time period when the overall temperatures were below 70 degrees. Temperature in summers is generally higher in most states.
Moreover, there is no guarantee that the number of cases depicted the correct value. Everyday, there are hundreds of cases that go unreported. Hence, adding a bias to the results. Geographical data was also ignored, which could potentially have a vital impact on the number of cases.
Mariyam Tanveer: