Optimal COVID-19 infection spread under low temperature, dry air, and low UV radiation

Eitan Asher, Yosef Ashkenazy, Shlomo Havlin, Alon Sela

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The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is currently spreading rapidly throughout the world, causing many deaths and severe economic damage. It is believed that hot and humid conditions do not favor the novel coronavirus, yet this is still under debate due to many uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 data. Here we propose surrogate data tests to examine the preference of this virus to spread under different climate conditions. We find that the disease is significantly (above the 95% confidence level) more common when the temperature is $\sim$10$^\circ$C, the specific humidity is $\sim$5 g/kg, and the ultraviolet (UV) radiation is $\sim$80 kJ/m$^2$. The significance of relative humidity is below the 95% confidence level and does not show a preferred value. The results are supported using global and regional data, spanning the time period from January to July 2020. The COVID-19 data includes the daily reported new cases and daily death cases; for both, the population size is either taken into account or ignored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Physics - Medical Physics
  • Physics - Physics and Society
  • Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution


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