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New research: Data from 221 countries suggest Covid-19 is seasonal

In a paper, researchers show that Covid-19 cases and mortality rates are significantly correlated with temperature and latitude across 221 countries.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2021 8:01:15 am
A nurse treats a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at a hospital in Seattle. (AP Photo: Elaine Thompson, File)

In a paper in Evolutionary Bioinformatics, researchers show that Covid-19 cases and mortality rates, among other epidemiological metrics, are significantly correlated with temperature and latitude across 221 countries.

“One conclusion is that the disease may be seasonal, like the flu,” senior author Gustavo Caetano-Anollés said in a statement released by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences.

First, the researchers downloaded relevant epidemiological data (disease incidence, mortality, recovery cases, active cases, testing rate, hospitalisation) from 221 countries, along with their latitude, longitude, and average temperature. They pulled the data from April 15, 2020.

The research team then used statistical methods to test if epidemiological variables were correlated with temperature, latitude, and longitude. The expectation was that warmer countries closer to the equator would be the least affected.

“Indeed, our worldwide epidemiological analysis showed a statistically significant correlation between temperature and incidence, mortality, recovery cases, and active cases. The same tendency was found with latitude, but not with longitude,” Caetano-Anollés was quoted as saying.

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences

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