Climate affects global patterns of COVID-19 early outbreak dynamics
View ORCID ProfileGentile Francesco Ficetola, View ORCID ProfileDiego Rubolini doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.23.20040501
Posted March 31, 2020.
Environmental factors, including seasonal climatic variability, can strongly impact on spatio-temporal patterns of infectious disease outbreaks. We assessed the effects of temperature and humidity on the global patterns of COVID-19 early outbreak dynamics during January-March 2020. Climatic variables were the best drivers of global variation of confirmed COVID-19 cases growth rates. Growth rates peaked in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere with mean temperature of ~5 degrees, and humidity of approx 0.6-1 kPa during the outbreak month, while they decreased in warmer and colder regions. The strong relationship between local climate and COVID-19 growth rates suggests the possibility of seasonal variation in the spatial pattern of outbreaks, with temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere becoming at particular risk of severe outbreaks during the next months.