COVID 19 to Become More Severe in Monsoon: Study

Published: July 20, 2020

A joint study commissioned by IIT Bhubaneswar and AIIMS Bhubaneswar has pointed out that controlling the spread of COVID 19 will become very challenging with the progression of the monsoon season and thereafter, post-monsoon and winter seasons. The fall in temperature continuously over these seasons will help in the spread of the deadly virus in the country.

Every degree rise in temperature will imply a 0.99 per cent decrease in the number of cases and also in an increase in doubling time by 1.13 days, indicating a slowdown in the speed of the spread.

Named ‘COVID 19 Spread in India and Its Dependence on Temperature and Relative Humidity’, the study was led by V Vinoj who is the Assistant Professor of the School of Earth, Ocean and Climatic Sciences at IIT Bhubaneswar and it took into consideration the COVID 19 outbreak patterns and cases in 28 states between April and June. The focus was mainly on the relation between the spread of COVID 19 and the environmental factors such as temperature, relative humidity and solar radiation.

The results of the study showed that temperature and relative humidity have a significant impact on the growth of the disease and the doubling time of the spread. However, the study is yet to be printed and peer-reviewed. But it also showed that more moisture will lead to a higher growth rate of COVID 19 cases and reduced doubling time for the disease. Lower specific humidity and higher surface-reaching solar radiation reduce the spread and increase the doubling time similar to that of temperature, according to this study.

While studying the past instances of such pandemics in the 21st century, the study revealed that seasonality in environmental factors plays a role in the dynamics of their spread.

This study will prove crucial at a time when the total COVID 19 cases in India have topped the 1 million mark and deaths also touched 26816 as on July 19.

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