Temperature and latitude do not appear to be associated with the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a study of many countries published online on May 8, 2020 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200920, but school closures and other public health measures are having a positive effect. The article is titled “Impact of climate and public health interventions on the COVID-19 pandemic: A prospective cohort study.” "Our study provides important new evidence, using global data from the COVID-19 epidemic, that these public health interventions have reduced epidemic growth," says Dr. Peter Jüni, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, and St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario. The Canadian study looked at 144 geopolitical areas -- states and provinces in Australia, the United States and Canada as well as various countries around the world -- and a total of more than 375,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases. China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea were excluded because the virus was either waning in the case of China or in full disease outbreak at the time of the analysis in others. To estimate epidemic growth, researchers compared the number of cases on March 27 with cases on March 20, 2020, and determined the influence of latitude, temperature, humidity, school closures, restrictions of mass gatherings and social distancing measured during the exposure period of March 7 to 13. They found little or no association between latitude or temperature with epidemic growth of COVID-19 and a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission. The results -- that hotter weather had no effect on the pandemic's progression -- surprised the authors.
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