Monsoon, winter to worsen Covid-19 spread in India: IIT-AIIMS study

IANS | Jul 20, 2020, 02:44 PM IST

Controlling the spread of Covid-19 in India may become a greater challenge with the progression of the season towards monsoon, post-monsoon, and thereafter, winter, with a continuous fall in temperature, claims a study conducted jointly by researchers at IIT-Bhubaneswar and AIIMS-Bhubaneswar.

 

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Every degree rise in temperature corresponds to a 0.99 per cent decrease in the number of cases and an increase in doubling time by approximately 1.13 days, implying a slowing down of spread, said the study titled "Covid-19 spread in India and its dependence on temperature and relative humidity". (Photo: Reuters)

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The study, led by V. Vinoj, Assistant Professor of the School of Earth, Ocean and Climatic Sciences at IIT-Bhubaneswar, examined Covid-19 outbreak patterns and cases in 28 states between April and June.

Particularly, they focused on the relationship between Covid-19 spread and environmental factors such as temperature, relative humidity, specific humidity, and solar radiation.  (Photo: Reuters)

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The results showed that temperature and relative humidity have a significant impact on the disease growth rate and doubling time, according to the abstract of the study posted on ResearchGate, a professional network for scientists and researchers.

The study is currently at pre-print stage and yet to be peer-reviewed. (Photo: Reuters)

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An analysis for relative humidity revealed that more moisture leads to a higher growth rate of Covid-19 cases and reduced doubling time, said the study.

Lower specific humidity and higher surface-reaching solar radiation reduced the spread and increased the doubling time similar to that of temperature, the results showed. (Photo: Reuters)

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The researchers noted that past respiratory viral pandemics of the 21st century revealed seasonality in environmental factors to play a role in the dynamics of their spread.

The study comes at a time when daily Covid-19 cases are setting new records. (Photo: Reuters)

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India`s total coronavirus cases have already surpassed 1 million, with a record 38,902 new cases reported in the past 24 hours.

With 543 new deaths, the total death toll stood at 26,816 on Sunday.(Photo: Reuters)