Climate and Spread: A new meta-analysis of more than 150 research articles published during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has shown the link between the weather and the spread of the disease.

The team started with 158 studies that were published early in the pandemic on the climate and spread of the virus.

The study, published in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society, was conceived and produced at the University of Manchester and directed by Ling Tan, Visiting Scientist at the Center for Crisis Studies and Mitigation. The team started with 158 studies that were published early in the pandemic with data prior to November 2020.

Because many viral respiratory diseases show seasonal cycles, weather conditions could affect the spread of COVID-19. Although many studies tried to examine this possible link, their results were often inconsistent.

Tan performed a meta-regression analysis of data from previously published articles. To make sense of this large body of data derived from places around the world. Using inconsistent research methods and using a variety of different data sets with varying study quality.

The results were exceptionally revealing.

The team found several main findings.

From this large data set, the team found several main findings. Including that 80 of 158 studies did not indicate the time lapse between infection and notification. Which makes these studies ineffective in determining the climate-COVID-19 relationship.

The data also showed that Asian countries had more positive associations for air temperature than other regions. Possibly because the temperature was experiencing its seasonal rise from winter to spring during the rapid outbreak of COVID-19 in these countries. Which shows how correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

Higher solar energy was also associated with reduced spread of COVID-19, regardless of statistical analysis method and geographic location.

The general public believes that there is a negative relationship between temperature and COVID-19

“What surprised me the most was that more than half of the studies we examined (80 out of 158). They did not say how they would account for the time lapse between the weather the day people were infected and the day their COVID-19. The disease was reported. We know this could be up to two weeks, “says Professor David M. Schultz.

Lead author Ling Tan said: “The general public believes that there is a negative relationship between temperature and COVID-19, such as the higher the temperature, the slower the spread of the pandemic. However, previous studies did not consistently obtain this result. We found two reasons for this. First, most of these studies use a simple analysis approach called linear regression, which would produce a straight line for all temperatures. But, the stability of the virus can be maximum at moderate temperatures, for example; Very low and very high temperatures can make the virus inactive, so linear regression would be an inappropriate analysis. “

“Second, the rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in some countries in the early stages would outweigh the more subtle climate effects. Therefore, we recommend that future studies use non-linear regression models to capture the association between climate and COVID-19 ”.

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Increased solar energy was associated with a reduction in the spread of COVID-19

Study co-author Professor David Schultz said: “What surprised me the most was that more than half of the studies we examined (80 out of 158) did not say that they explained the time lag between the time when people became infected and the day their COVID-19 illness was reported. We know this could be up to two weeks. Therefore, these studies were poorly designed or poorly reported. Therefore, we had to discard these studies from a more detailed analysis because we could not trust their results. “

The results of the meta-regression analysis surprised the researchers who began to see links with sunlight in the spread of the virus. “We were able to show in these remaining 78 studies that increased solar energy was associated with a reduction in the spread of COVID-19, regardless of the statistical analysis method and geographic location of the study, possibly due to the benefits of ultraviolet radiation and vitamin D in reduction COVID-19 spreads or because sunlight inactivates the virus ”. Professor Schultz said.

This research also suggests best practices to consider in future studies of disease and weather conditions.

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