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1 April, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 April, 2020 01:22:58 AM
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Experts warn against lowering the guard as nothing has been proven conclusively yet

Warm, humid weather may reduce coronavirus spread

Find studies by MIT, 4 other universities
FAISAL MAHMUD, Dhaka
Warm, humid weather may 
reduce coronavirus spread

Countries with a warm and humid weather may witness a lesser transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), at least five different studies conducted by researchers in different universities have suggested. The studies hint that the seasonal flu tends to dissipate during the summer, leading to the assumption that the coronavirus might do the same. Experts, however, warn against lowering the guard, saying nothing has been proven conclusively in this regard.

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US assessed data on the number of COVID-19 infections in different parts of the world and compared it with two parameters of weather from all the regions—temperature and humidity.

The findings show that 90 per cent of the COVID-19 transmissions until March 22 did take place in regions with temperatures between 3 and 17 degrees Celsius. These regions also had 4–9 gm/cubic metre (g/m3) of absolute humidity, a measure of the amount of water vapour per cubic metre of atmosphere.

According to MIT scientists, the total number of cases in countries with mean temperature greater than 18 degrees Celsius and absolute humidity more than 9 g/m3 in January, February, and early March is less than 6 per cent.

Based on their analysis, the scientists noted that Asian countries experiencing the rainy

season may see a slowdown in transmission as absolute humidity is generally above 10g/m3 during that period.

“Within the US, the outbreak also shows a north-south divide. Northern (cooler) states have much higher growth rates compared to the southern (warmer) states. The spread of COVID-19 has been limited in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona—all of which are Southern states,” the MIT study reported.

Scientists at China’s Beijing and Tsinghua University, who examined the spread of the disease in 100 Chinese cities, found that “high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of Covid-19”.

The number of people infected per carrier of the disease fell in relation to increased temperature and humidity, their study found. Researchers at the University of Maryland in the US also came to similar conclusions. “Based on what we have documented so far, it appears that the virus has a harder time spreading between people in warmer, tropical climates,” said Mohammad Sajadi, associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology, who led a study that used weather data to predict the spread of Covid-19.

Researchers of the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine in the US explained why the coronavirus might not spread in a warmer climate.

According to their study, coronaviruses are a family of so-called “enveloped viruses”. So, they are covered by an oily coat, known as a lipid bilayer, studded with proteins that stick out like spikes of a crown, helping to give them their name—corona is Latin for crown.

Research on other enveloped viruses suggests that this oily coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat than those that do not have one. In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state to protect the virus for a longer period when it is outside the body.  Most enveloped viruses tend to show strong seasonality as a result of this, said the study of University of Southern California.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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