Winter will accelerate Covid-19 spread in India, says study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 20, 2020

Progression poses a big challenge to health workers

According to a study jointly carried out by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the seasonal progression towards winter will accelerate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

The research, titled, “The COVID-19 spread in India and its dependence on temperature and relative humidity”, stated that seasonality in environmental factors will play a role in the dynamics of the pandemic’s spread.

The observation showed that temperature and relative humidity have a significant impact on the growth rate and the doubling time.

“Every degree rise in temperature corresponds to a 0.99 per cent decrease in the number of cases and an increase in doubling time by ~ 1.13 days, implying a slowing down of spread,” it mentioned.

“A similar analysis for RH reveals that more moisture leads to a higher growth rate and reduced doubling time,” the report noted.

“In terms of doubling time, a one-degree rise in temperature leads to slowing by 1.13 days. Similarly, an increase in 10 per cent relative humidity leads to an increase in doubling time by 1.18 days,” the researchers observed.

According to the research, the progression of the season towards monsoon, post-monsoon, and thereafter winter with a continuous reduction in temperature will prove a major challenge for health workers and policymakers attempting to enforce mitigation and control measures.

The study was conducted by the School of Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences of IIT-Bhubaneswar and Department of Microbiology, and AIIMS-Bhubaneswar.

Published on July 20, 2020

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