Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Weather Conditions and COVID-19 Incidence in a Cold Climate: A Time-series Study in Finland

Version 1 : Received: 3 August 2020 / Approved: 4 August 2020 / Online: 4 August 2020 (15:59:18 CEST)

How to cite: Heibati, B.; Wang, W.; Ryti, N.; Dominici, F.; Ducatman, A.; Zhang, Z.; Jaakkola, J. Weather Conditions and COVID-19 Incidence in a Cold Climate: A Time-series Study in Finland. Preprints 2020, 2020080099 Heibati, B.; Wang, W.; Ryti, N.; Dominici, F.; Ducatman, A.; Zhang, Z.; Jaakkola, J. Weather Conditions and COVID-19 Incidence in a Cold Climate: A Time-series Study in Finland. Preprints 2020, 2020080099

Abstract

Background: The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading globally at an accelerated rate. There is some previous evidence that weather may influence the incidence of COVID-19 infection. We assessed the role of meteorological factors including temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) considering the concentrations of two air pollutants, inhalable coarse particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Finland, located in arctic-subarctic climatic zone. Methods: We retrieved daily counts of COVID-19 in Finland from Jan 1 to May 31, 2020, nationwide and separately for all 21 hospital districts across the country. The meteorological and air quality data were from the monitoring stations nearest to the central district hospital. A quasi-Poisson generalized additional model (GAM) was fitted to estimate the associations between district-specific meteorological factors and the daily counts of COVID-19 during the study period. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test the robustness of the results. Results: The incidence rate of COVID-19 gradually increased until a peak around April 6 and then decreased. There were no associations between daily temperature and incidence rate of COVID-19. Daily average RH was negatively associated with daily incidence rate of COVID-19 in two hospital districts located inland. No such association was found nationwide. The sensitivity analyses indicate the results are robust. Conclusions: Weather conditions, such as air temperature and relative humidity, may not be important factors affecting the COVID-19 incidence in the arctic and subarctic winter and spring. More evidence is needed on the associations between weather and COVID-19 during different seasons.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; Cold Climate; Weather; Finland

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