A new Princeton study shows a slight correlation between climate and the novel coronavirus. The issue of whether or not summer’s higher temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere will stall the spread of the virus are in the spotlight now that summer is here. Despite this interesting correlation, scientists warn their findings are, so far, inconclusive.
Other research has also supports the hypothesis (2011) that summer’s heat, humidity, and abundant sunshine could inhibit the spread, but as for halting COVID-19, researchers are a lot less enthusiastic.
The Princeton study does not rule out the correlation entirely, but the researchers say the impact of climate are “modest” at best. Rachel Baker, a postdoctoral research associate at the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) was quoted:
“Our findings suggest, without effective control measures, strong outbreaks are likely in more humid climates and summer weather will not substantially limit pandemic growth. We project that warmer or more humid climates will not slow the virus at the early stage of the pandemic.”
While climate, particularly humidity, plays a role in the spread of other coronaviruses, the researchers worry about the absence of immunity. In another study at Harvard, Mohammad Jalali, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School told the Washington Post, “The best way to think about weather is as a secondary factor here.” This paragraph from a Harvard study bears looking at:
“The report found that in laboratory settings, higher temperatures and higher levels of humidity decreased survival of the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, studies looking at viral spread in varying climate conditions in the natural environment had inconsistent results.”
The summer season brings with it positive factors like this secondary inhibitor Jalali points out, and activities like swimming in a chlorinated pool will be safe if people maintain social distancing protocol. The CDC in Atlanta has new guidelines people should pay attention to when headed to the beach or pool.
Finally, a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that summer temperatures will probably not stop the spread of COVID-19. However, this same study also shows school closures and other preventative measures have been helpful in pushing infection curves down.