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COVID-19: Weather Has Big Impact On Virus Spread, Study Finds

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doctor Photo Credit: Image by Sergey Semenov from Pixabay

A potential next wave of COVID-19 incidents could be predicted by the medical research community or, possibly, meteorologists.

A new study published in the Physics of Fluids found that the spread of airborne viruses, such as COVID-19, is very much affected by the weather.

As temperatures rise and humidity falls, the study's authors, from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, said they expect another improvement in COVID-19 infection rates.

The Nicosia scientists used a method of analysis they developed called the Airborne Infection Rate Index.

Applying this theory, they found that COVID-19 transmission rates varied in the northern and southern hemispheres depending on the time of year, thus pointing to a weather dependence.

Typical disease transmission studies only consider transmission and recovery rates, the study noted. Researchers argued that weather and climate - temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed - should also be factored into predicting how the virus will spread.

By considering the weather, economic lockdown decisions can be better informed and more predictable, the study said.

The study’s authors - Talib Dbouk and Dimitris Drikakis - were quick to note that their research in no way undercuts the medical need for social distancing and proper mask-wearing in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

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