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Cold temperatures in winter WILL increase the spread of COVID-19, research confirms

Cold temperatures in winter WILL increase the spread of COVID-19, research confirms

  • Experts from India compared the temperature and coronavirus cases of each country
  • They found that colder countries have typically seen larger outbreaks
  • Summer can therefore be the best window to fight the virus

The colder temperatures that come in winter will lead to an increase in the spread of COVID-19, scientists have confirmed.

Researchers from India have investigated the relationship between a country’s average temperature and the number of COVID-19 cases.

They found a significant association between countries that have experienced colder ambient temperatures and larger outbreaks.

The findings may indicate that there are problems on the horizon for Northern Hemisphere countries entering winter later this year.

Accordingly, the researchers said, summer may be the best time to fight back against the virus.

The colder temperatures that come in winter will lead to an increase in the spread of COVID-19, scientists have confirmed (stock image)

The colder temperatures that come in winter will lead to an increase in the spread of COVID-19, scientists have confirmed (stock image)

In their study, biochemist Chandi Mandal of the Central University of Rajasthan and Mahaveer Singh Panwar of Banaras Hindu University collected the average temperatures and the number of active COVID-19 cases for different countries.

Data was collected from late March to mid-April.

The duo found that countries in higher latitudes / colder climates were significantly more likely to have a higher rate of coronavirus cases.

In contrast, fewer cases occurred in warmer and lower climates.

“All of these observations suggest that low temperatures may be a risk factor for COVID-19 cases,” the researchers wrote.

“At the moment, however, this study cannot explain how some cold countries have relatively higher coronavirus-infected cases,” she added.

“Is it just the cold or are there additional factors?”

Future work, they added, should take into account co-morbidity factors such as the relative incidence of cancer in each country, diabetes, hyper-tension and obesity.

Previously, experts suggested that summer should slow the spread of the coronavirus – citing the benefits of extra vitamin D production from sunlight to support immune responses, along with increased UV rays that can slow the spread of the airways.

They found a significant association between countries dealing with warmer ambient temperatures and large-scale outbreaks. Pictured, the top 31 countries with more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus. Darker red shading represents a larger number of cases

They found a significant association between countries dealing with warmer ambient temperatures and large-scale outbreaks. Pictured, the top 31 countries with more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus. Darker red shading represents a larger number of cases

They found a significant association between countries dealing with warmer ambient temperatures and large-scale outbreaks. Pictured, the top 31 countries with more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus. Darker red shading represents a larger number of cases

The findings may indicate that there are problems on the horizon for countries in the Northern Hemisphere as they enter winter later this year. Accordingly, the researchers said, summer may be the best window to fight back against the virus (stock image)

The findings may indicate that there are problems on the horizon for countries in the Northern Hemisphere as they enter winter later this year. Accordingly, the researchers said, summer may be the best window to fight back against the virus (stock image)

The findings may indicate that there are problems on the horizon for countries in the Northern Hemisphere as they enter winter later this year. Accordingly, the researchers said, summer may be the best window to fight back against the virus (stock image)

“The transmission of many virus types depends on air temperature and humidity,” says Professor Mandal.

“Although more analysis is needed, but if low temperature is a risk factor for COVID-19, summer could reduce transmission and infection.”

The full findings of the study are published in the journal Public health.

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