Nigerians can now have some hope that the Coronavirus may not be as devastating as it has been in China, Italy, Spain, United States and some other parts of the world, courtesy of its high temperatures and humidity. A new study has suggested that rising temperatures and humidity levels would likely reduce the spread of the virus globally, but changing weather alone could not stop the disease.
The report published yesterday by Daily Mail UK indicated that as the weather grew warmer and more humid in 100 Chinese cities, researchers at Beihang University and Tsinghua University found that the transmission rate of Covid-19 dropped. “High temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-1,” authors of the study wrote.
US President, Donald Trump, had assured Americans that COVID-19, which has now infected over 41,000 people in the US would likely fade by April because “heat kills this kind of virus.” Although public health experts and the new study suggested that the virus does not thrive in warm temperatures, heat and humidity would only reduce the transmission rate, but could not stop it on its tracks.
Since Covid-19 emerged in China in December last year, the virus has spread to over 350,000 people worldwide amid cold weather and in China, it reached its peak in February with over 15,000 cases diagnosed in a day. But it officially springs there presently and with the departure of winter has come reduced cases in China. Last week, China reported no new cases of Coronavirus from the local transmission, an encouraging development, though met by some level of skepticism.
In concluding the study, the researchers assessed data on more than 100 cities in China where there were 40 or more cases of the virus between January 21 and January 23, 2020. They tracked the estimated number of transmissions, temperatures and humidity in those cities before January 24, when lockdowns were effected and Lunar New Year celebrations cancelled.
Using the R coefficient, a number that measures the average number of people each person with the virus could infect, the team tracked transmission rates, adjusted the numbers to account for factors that might otherwise influence the transmission rate, like how densely populated or wealthy each city was.
After doing so, they estimated the average number of people that each person with the virus would pass it on to. Experts worldwide have tried to estimate the R0, or spread of the disease. It seems to hover between 2 and 2.5, meaning that every person infected gives Coronavirus to between two and two-and-a-half people.
But that value fell as temperatures and humidity rose, according to the authors of the study, using one degree Celsius increase in temperature and one per cent increase in relative humidity lower R by 0.0383 and 0.0224.
Meanwhile, new data has shown that over 100,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 globally.
Since the outbreak began in December 2019, about one-quarter of the 372,000 infected persons have recovered, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering in the United States.