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Misconceptions about weather and seasonality impact COVID-19 response

Date:
August 27, 2020
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
Misconceptions about the way climate and weather impact exposure and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, create false confidence and have adversely shaped risk perceptions, say researchers.
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Misconceptions about the way climate and weather impact exposure and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, create false confidence and have adversely shaped risk perceptions, say a team of Georgetown University researchers.

"Future scientific work on this politically-fraught topic needs a more careful approach," write the scientists in a "Comment" published today in Nature Communications.

The authors include global change biologist Colin J. Carlson, PhD, an assistant professor at Georgetown's Center for Global Health Science and Security; senior author Sadie Ryan, PhD, a medical geographer at the University of Florida; Georgetown disease ecologist Shweta Bansal, PhD; and Ana C. R. Gomez, a graduate student at UCLA.

The research team says current messaging on social media and elsewhere "obscures key nuances" of the science around COVID-19 and seasonality.

"Weather probably influences COVID-19 transmission, but not at a scale sufficient to outweigh the effects of lockdowns or re-openings in populations," the authors write.

The authors strongly discourage policy be tailored to current understandings of the COVID-climate link, and suggest a few key points:

  1. No human-settled area in the world is protected from COVID-19 transmission by virtue of weather, at any point in the year.
  2. Many scientists expect COVID-19 to become seasonal in the long term, conditional on a significant level of immunity, but that condition may be unmet in some regions, depending on the success of outbreak containment.
  3. All pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions are currently believed to have a stronger impact on transmission over space and time than any environmental driver.

"With current scientific data, COVID-19 interventions cannot currently be planned around seasonality," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colin J. Carlson, Ana C. R. Gomez, Shweta Bansal, Sadie J. Ryan. Misconceptions about weather and seasonality must not misguide COVID-19 response. Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18150-z

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Misconceptions about weather and seasonality impact COVID-19 response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200827101814.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2020, August 27). Misconceptions about weather and seasonality impact COVID-19 response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 13, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200827101814.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Misconceptions about weather and seasonality impact COVID-19 response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200827101814.htm (accessed June 13, 2024).

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