Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The COVID-19 Spread in India and Its Dependence on Temperature and Relative Humidity

Version 1 : Received: 4 July 2020 / Approved: 5 July 2020 / Online: 5 July 2020 (15:20:54 CEST)

How to cite: Vinoj, V.; Gopinath, N.; Landu, K.; Behera, B.; Mishra, B. The COVID-19 Spread in India and Its Dependence on Temperature and Relative Humidity. Preprints 2020, 2020070082 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0082.v1). Vinoj, V.; Gopinath, N.; Landu, K.; Behera, B.; Mishra, B. The COVID-19 Spread in India and Its Dependence on Temperature and Relative Humidity. Preprints 2020, 2020070082 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0082.v1).

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic is an unprecedented health emergency never seen in the recorded history of humankind due to its sheer scale, rapid spread, and subsequent shock to the global economy. The past respiratory viral pandemics of the 21st century (SARS-CoV-2 in 2003, Influenza AH1N1 in 2009) have revealed seasonality in environmental factors to play a role in the dynamics of their spread. Here, we report the observed state-level relationship between environmental factors such as temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), specific humidity (SH), and solar radiation (SR) on the COVID-19 spread over the Indian region. The results show that T and RH have a significant impact on the disease growth rate and doubling time. Every degree rise in temperature corresponds to a 0.99 % decrease in the number of cases and an increase in doubling time by ~ 1.13 days implying a slowing down of spread. A similar analysis for RH reveals that more moisture leads to a higher growth rate and reduced doubling time. Lower SH and higher surface-reaching SR are found to reduce the spread and increase the doubling time similar to that of temperature. The range of average state-level T (RH) encountered during this period was between 24 and 35oC (30 and 87%) which implies that environmental impact is still effective at all these T (RH) and is not limited to specific T (RH) ranges. 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.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; Coronavirus; Temperature; Environment; Relative Humidity; India

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