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How do weather and climate change impact the COVID-19 pandemic? Evidence from the Chinese mainland

Fan, JL; Da, Y; Zeng, B; Zhang, H; Liu, Z; Jia, N; Liu, J; ... Zhang, X; + view all (2021) How do weather and climate change impact the COVID-19 pandemic? Evidence from the Chinese mainland. Environmental Research Letters , 16 (1) , Article 014026. 10.1088/1748-9326/abcf76. Green open access

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand, while the relationship between weather conditions and the spread of the virus remains largely debatable. In this paper, we attempt to examine this question by employing a flexible econometric model coupled with fine-scaled hourly temperature variations and a rich set of covariates for 291 cities in the Chinese mainland. More importantly, we combine the baseline estimates with climate-change projections from 21 global climate models to understand the pandemic in different scenarios. We found a significant negative relationship between temperatures and caseload. A one-hour increase in temperatures from 25 °C to 28 °C tends to reduce daily cases by 15.1%, relative to such an increase from −2 °C to 1 °C. Our results also suggest an inverted U-shaped nonlinear relationship between relative humidity and confirmed cases. Despite the negative effects of heat, we found that rising temperatures induced by climate change are unlikely to contain a hypothesized pandemic in the future. In contrast, cases would tend to increase by 10.9% from 2040 to 2059 with a representative concentration pathway (RCP) of 4.5 and by 7.5% at an RCP of 8.5, relative to 2020, though reductions of 1.8% and 18.9% were projected for 2080–2099 for the same RCPs, respectively. These findings raise concerns that the pandemic could worsen under the climate-change framework.

Type: Article
Title: How do weather and climate change impact the COVID-19 pandemic? Evidence from the Chinese mainland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abcf76
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abcf76
Language: English
Additional information: Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119110
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