Cold countries more vulnerable to Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 30, 2020 Published on November 30, 2020

The highest reported cases and deaths were noted when temperatures ranged between 2°C and 17°C

A new study conducted by a researcher at the University College London (UCL) found that global temperature plays an essential role in driving the spread of Covid-19.

The pandemic had originated in late December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. From there, it spread rapidly to most countries worldwide. However, some countries and cities with moderately cold winter temperatures exhibited a rapid spread of the virus. These include the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and northern parts of the United States, compared to countries in the African continent and Australia.

Further, the frigid Scandinavian countries as well as Russia, and Canada only showed moderate severity. Consequently, some countries that had moderate severity had worsened status from the end of April.

Also read: Air quality influences waves of Covid-19 contamination: Study

The study noted that colder regions were more affected compared to warmer places. During the peak of the winter season in China in January, Wuhan City experienced the maximum severity in terms of death toll and surge of new cases. In February, other cold countries such as Italy, Iran, and South Korea reported outbreaks.


For the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, the team analysed global air temperature data collected by the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis product, which was freely available online.


Based on March and April temperatures, the team identified many degrees of vulnerability. The highest reported cases and deaths were noted when temperatures ranged between 2°C and 17°C. Many countries experience this range of temperature, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, and Spain.

Meanwhile, countries from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Australia, which have temperatures above 27°C, are haless vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

Also read: Hot or cold, weather alone has no glaring impact over COVID-19: Study

This further corroborates earlier studies that said the virus was susceptible to temperature. Viruses can spread in favourable situations, including in moderately cold places. On the other hand, warm countries were likely to be less vulnerable.

“As regional temperatures play a significant role in the transmission and spread, these results and future predictive maps have a major implication for future planning,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

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Published on November 30, 2020
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