EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 18, EMS2021-438, 2021
EMS Annual Meeting 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Potential influence of meteorological conditions on early COVID-19 transmission dynamics in 409 cities across 26 countries

Rachel Lowe1, Ben Armstrong1, Sam Abbott1, Sophie Meakin1, Kathleen O'Reilly1, Rosa von Borries2, Rochelle Schneider1, Dominic Royé3, Masahiro Hashizume4, Mathilde Pascal5, Aurelio Tobias6, Ana Vicedo-Cabrera7, Antonio Gasparrini1, Francesco Sera1, and the MCC Network & CMMID COVID-19 working group*
Rachel Lowe et al.
  • 1London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom (rachel.lowe@lshtm.ac.uk)
  • 2Charité Universitätsmedizin, Germany
  • 3Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • 4University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 5Santé Publique France, France
  • 6Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Spain
  • 7Universität Bern, Switzerland
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

More than a year since its emergence, there is conflicting evidence on the potential influence of weather conditions on COVID-19 transmission dynamics. Respiratory viral infections often show seasonality, with influenza and other coronaviruses peaking in winter, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. As SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus to humans, it is difficult to ascertain if seasonal climate variations might have enhanced or reduced transmission in the first pandemic wave given the high proportion of susceptible people and the potential confounding role of different types of non-pharmaceutical interventions adopted at different times after the onset of local outbreaks. We used a two-stage ecological modelling approach to estimate weather-dependent signatures in COVID-19 transmission in the early phase of the pandemic, using a dataset of 3 million COVID-19 cases reported until 31 May 2020, spanning 409 locations in 26 countries. We calculated the effective reproduction number (Re) over a city-specific early-phase time-window of 10-20 days, for which local transmission had been established but before non-pharmaceutical interventions had intensified, as measured by the OxCGRT Government Response Index. We calculated mean levels of meteorological factors, including temperature and humidity observed in the same time window used to calculate Re. Using a multilevel meta-regression approach, we modelled nonlinear effects of meteorological factors, while accounting for government interventions and socio-demographic factors. A weak non-monotonic association between temperature and Re was identified, with a decrease of 0.087 (95% CI: 0.025; 0.148) for an increase in temperature between 10-20°C. Non-pharmaceutical interventions had a greater effect on Re with a decrease of 0.285 (95% CI 0.223; 0.347) for a 5th - 95th percentile increase in the government response index. The variation in the effective reproduction number explained by early government interventions was 6 times greater than for mean temperature. We find little evidence of meteorological conditions having influenced the early stages of local epidemics and conclude that population behaviour and governmental intervention are more important drivers of transmission.

MCC Network & CMMID COVID-19 working group:

MCC Network: Wenbiau Hu, Shilu Tong, Eric Lavigne, Patricia Matus Correa, Xia Meng, Haidong Kan, Dominic Roye, Jan Kynčl, Aleš Urban,Hans Orru, Niilo Ryti, Simon Cauchemez, Marco Dallavalle, Alexandra Schneider, Ariana Zeka, Yasushi Honda, Chris Fook Sheng Ng, Barrak Alahmad, Shilpa Rao , Francesco Di Ruscio, Gabriel Carrasco, Xerxes Seposo, Iulian Horia Holobâc, Ho Kim, Whanhee Lee, Carmen Íñiguez, Martina S. Ragettli , Alicia Aleman, Valentina Colistro, Michelle Bell, Antonella Zanobetti, Joel Schwartz, Tran Ngoc Dang, Noah Scovronick, Micheline de Sousa Zanotti Stagliorio Coélho, Magali Hurtado Diaz. CMMID COVID-19 working group: Timothy W Russell, Mihaly Koltai, Adam J Kucharski, Rosanna C Barnard, Matthew Quaife, Christopher I Jarvis, Jiayao Lei, James D Munday, Yung Wai Desmond Chan, Billy J Quilty, Rosalind M Eggo, Stefan Flasche, Anna M Foss, Samuel Clifford, Damien C Tully, W John Edmunds, Petra Klepac, Oliver Brady, Fabienne Krauer, Simon R Procter, Thibaut Jombart, Alicia Rosello, Alicia Showering, Sebastian Funk, Joel Hellewell, Fiona Yueqian Sun, Akira Endo, Jack Williams, Amy Gimma, Naomi R Waterlow, Kiesha Prem, Nikos I Bosse , Hamish P Gibbs, Katherine E. Atkins, Carl A B Pearson, Yalda Jafari, C Julian Villabona-Arenas, Mark Jit, Emily S Nightingale, Nicholas G. Davies, Kevin van Zandvoort, Yang Liu, Frank G Sandmann, William Waites, Kaja Abbas, Graham Medley, Gwenan M Knight.

How to cite: Lowe, R., Armstrong, B., Abbott, S., Meakin, S., O'Reilly, K., von Borries, R., Schneider, R., Royé, D., Hashizume, M., Pascal, M., Tobias, A., Vicedo-Cabrera, A., Gasparrini, A., and Sera, F. and the MCC Network & CMMID COVID-19 working group: Potential influence of meteorological conditions on early COVID-19 transmission dynamics in 409 cities across 26 countries, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-438, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2021-438, 2021.

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