Seasonal Temperature & COVID Mortality

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2020-09-29

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There is an inverse association between temperature and viral spread such as influenza as extreme heat is known to denature the protein structures of viruses thereby decreasing viral spread and consequent burden of morbidity and mortality. Less is known about this association for SARS-CoV-2 (also known as COVID-19). We therefore examined the association between average temperature and burden of mortality for COVID-19 hypothesizing that there is an inverse association. We collected information on COVID-19 cases and deaths in each state, beginning from January through June, using the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at the Johns Hopkins University. Using the NOAA website, we manually exported data to calculate average, maximum, and minimum temperatures for each month across all U.S. states. Average temperate was calculated as the mean of the minimum and maximum temperatures. Case fatality rate was calculated as number of COVID-19 deaths divided by number of cases while death rate was calculated as number of COVID-19 deaths divided by population size. We averaged the temperature, death rate, and fatality rate for the months of January to June for each state. In summary there appeared to be no significant correlation between average temperature and COVID-19 mortality. This project was completed with contributions from Mahmoud Al Rifai, Xiaoming Jia, Mirza Umair Khalid, and Vijay Nambi from Baylor College of Medicine.

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