We all know that the flu comes and goes with the seasons. We even call the flu “seasonal” and expect it to rear its ugly head about this time annually. What if the COVID-19 virus is similar? What if it, too, rises and falls with the seasons? Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research group took temperature data from NOAA and NASA, and COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins University, and found a very distinct correlation between the current rise in COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country, and the change in temperature since July (when Covid-19 cases had reached a low). The chart below shows that those areas whose average temperatures have fallen by 10 degrees or more since July have experienced a rise in COVID-19 cases, while those areas with lesser temperature changes have not. The relationship is fairly linear (R2 value of 0.65) with a greater drop in temperature (e.g., Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas) being associated strongly with a greater increase in COVID‑19 cases, whereas a smaller change in temperature (e.g., Florida, California, Louisiana) is associated strongly with an actual drop in daily cases. If this relationship is validated by further research, the implications for public health management of the virus are immense.
| November 16, 2020