The role of absolute humidity on transmission rates of the COVID-19 outbreak


A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and has caused over 40,000 cases worldwide to date. Previous studies have supported an epidemiological hypothesis that cold and dry (low absolute humidity) environments facilitate the survival and spread of droplet-mediated viral diseases, and warm and humid (high absolute humidity) environments see attenuated viral transmission (i.e., influenza). However, the role of absolute humidity in transmission of COVID-19 has not yet been established. Here, we examine province-level variability of the basic reproductive numbers of COVID-19 across China and find that changes in weather alone (i.e., increase of temperature and humidity as spring and summer months arrive in the North Hemisphere) will not necessarily lead to declines in COVID-19 case counts without the implementation of extensive public health interventions.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Clinical TrialNAFunding StatementMS and CP are partially supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01GM130668. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.Author DeclarationsAll relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript.YesAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesAll the data used for this study is publicly available as reported in the manuscript.https://systemsjhuedu/research/public-health/ncov/https://wwwworldweatheronlinecom/

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