Optimal COVID-19 infection spread under low temperature, dry air, and low UV radiation

Eitan Asher, Yosef Ashkenazy, Shlomo Havlin, Alon Sela

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Received date: 16th September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is spreading rapidly throughout the world, causing many deaths and severe economic damage. It is believed that hot and humid conditions do not favor the novel coronavirus, yet this is still under debate due to many uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 data. Here we propose surrogate data tests to examine the preference of this virus to spread under different climate conditions. We find, by mainly studying the relative number of COVID-19 deaths, that the disease is significantly (above the 95\% confidence level) more common when the temperature is $\sim$10$^\circ$C, the relative humidity is ~60\%, the specific humidity is ~5 g/kg, and the ultraviolet (UV) radiation is ~80 kJ/m^2. The results are supported using global and regional data, spanning the time period from January to August 2020. The COVID-19 data includes the daily reported new cases and daily death cases; for both, the population size is either taken into account or ignored.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

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