Coronavirus survives regardless of air temperature and latitude – in other words, a warm or cold climate does not affect the speed of its spread. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Toronto, whose work was published in the journal CMAJ.
Scientists already know in advance that a new type of coronavirus is spreading with equal success in almost any climate: the northern countries suffer from it as much as the southern ones.
Now, researchers have decided to test this claim on a wider range of data. They studied the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 144 geopolitical zones – in the states and provinces of Australia, the USA, and Canada, as well as in different countries of the world. In total, the sample included data on 375 thousand confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
In order to assess the growth of the epidemic, the researchers compared the number of cases on March 27 and the cases on March 20, 2020, and determined the effects of latitude, temperature, humidity, school closure, restrictions on public gatherings and social distance measured during the exposure period in March.
The study showed that a relationship between latitude or temperature and the epidemic increase in COVID-19, as well as a weak relationship between humidity and reduced transmission were not found. Researchers especially note the fact that hotter weather also does not affect the development of a pandemic. At the same time, quarantine measures helped to significantly slow down the spread of the virus.
We conducted a preliminary study, which suggested that latitude and temperature could play a role. But when we repeated the study under much more stringent conditions, we got the opposite result. We want people to know that increasing temperatures in the summer does not reduce the risk of spreading the virus – this is especially important in conditions when many countries plan to weaken the quarantine regime.
Dionne Gesink, lead author of the research