While everyone was out stocking up on toilet paper and hoarding antibacterial agents, they overlooked one thing that could help the most: a humidifier.
Recent studies suggest that the spread of COVID-19 is linked to changes in climate, specifically that higher humidity equals slower spread.
Increased humidity means the viral droplets will be heavier, therefore falling to the ground or other surfaces more quickly, where it will not survive and be less likely to infect you. Our immune systems also work better in higher humidity, so how do you increase humidity in your home? Buy a humidifier! Keep the levels of humidity around 40% – 60%, according to the recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency.
With studies coming out of Yale in 2019, and a separate study published on June 9th, 2020 in the Geographical Analysis journal, higher humidity is linked to a reduced spread of the virus. Researchers in the study estimated that for every 1% increase in humidity, there was a 3% decrease in viral transmission.
A 50-city climate data study published on June 11th in JAMA Network Open was conducted during the early months of the COVID outbreak (January – March 10, 2020). This study analyzed and compared climate data from the 8 cities that had significant spread of the virus, with the 42 other cities that did not see substantial community spread. These 8 cities were Wuhan, China; Tokyo; Daegu, South Korea; Milan; Paris; Qom, Iran; Seattle, and Madrid. All had high infection rates, and all were located along the 30° and 50° N corridor, with temperatures between 41-52 F, and low absolute humidity. Coincidence? The researchers think not.
Mohammad Sajadi, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said recently in an interview with BreakingMED, that climate is just one of many factors associated with the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
“Transmission is multifactorial, but temperature and humidity may give us some guidance about when areas have the highest potential risk,” he said.
Based on the findings of these studies, it seems that we can make estimated projections on which cities will see a drop or spike in cases due to climate changes in the coming months.