Susceptible supply limits the role of climate in the early SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Science. 2020 Jul 17;369(6501):315-319. doi: 10.1126/science.abc2535. Epub 2020 May 18.

Abstract

Preliminary evidence suggests that climate may modulate the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Yet it remains unclear whether seasonal and geographic variations in climate can substantially alter the pandemic trajectory, given that high susceptibility is a core driver. Here, we use a climate-dependent epidemic model to simulate the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by probing different scenarios based on known coronavirus biology. We find that although variations in weather may be important for endemic infections, during the pandemic stage of an emerging pathogen, the climate drives only modest changes to pandemic size. A preliminary analysis of nonpharmaceutical control measures indicates that they may moderate the pandemic-climate interaction through susceptible depletion. Our findings suggest that without effective control measures, strong outbreaks are likely in more humid climates and summer weather will not substantially limit pandemic growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • Climate*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Seasons

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2