U.S. Study Shows That Stale Air And Low Wind Speeds Linked With Higher COVID-19 Incidences
A new study by researchers from Stony Brook University, New York-USA has shown that that stale air and low wind speeds are associated with higher COVID-19 incidences.
The study focused as to whether outdoor transmission may contribute to the COVID-19 epidemic. The study team hypothesized that slower outdoor wind speed is associated with increased risk of transmission when individuals socialize outside.
The daily COVID-19 incidence reported in Suffolk County, NY, between March 16th and December 31st, 2020, was the outcome. Average wind speed and maximal daily temperature were collated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Negative binomial regression was used to model incidence rates while adjusting for susceptible population size.
The study findings showed that cases were very high in the initial wave but diminished once lockdown procedures were enacted. Most days between May 1st, 2020, and October 24th, 2020, had temperatures 16–28 °C and wind speed diminished slowly over the year and began to increase again in December 2020. Unadjusted and multivariable-adjusted analyses revealed that days with temperatures ranging between 16 and 28 °C where wind speed was < 8.85 km per hour (KPH) had increased COVID-19 incidence (aIRR = 1.45, 95% C.I. = [1.28–1.64], P < 0.001) as compared to days with average wind speed ≥ 8.85 KPH.
Throughout the U.S. epidemic, the role of outdoor shared spaces such as parks and beaches has been a topic of considerable interest.
The study findings suggest that outdoor transmission of COVID-19 may occur by noting that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the summer was higher on days with low wind speed. Outdoor use of increased physical distance between individuals, improved air circulation, and use of masks may be helpful in some outdoor environments where airflow is limited.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: BMC Infectious Diseases. https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-021-06796-z
Although it may not be the season for beach going and barbecues, people continue to work and gather outside in many settings. Is that cause for concern in these latest stages of the pandemic, and new variants? Not necessarily, but the study findings indicate that low wind speeds and stale air are associated with a higher incidence of contracting COVID-19 when people socialize outside – perhaps as much as 45 percent more compared to when winds are stronger.
The study led by Dr Sean Clouston, PhD, Associate Professor in the Program in Public Health, and the Department of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University shows that that low wind speeds and stale air are factors that increase the risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The study findings are based on analysis of COVID-19 incidences in Suffolk County, NY, from March 16, 2020, to December 31, 2020, from public health data of more than 96,000 cases.
The stuy team used these data in combination with daily reports by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the region's average wind speed and maximal daily temperatures.
Dr Clouston told Thailand Medical News, “The issue is really about an increased danger of infection spread in the presence of stale air as opposed to indoor versus outdoor settings. The findings imply we are all safer when air flow is more significant."
Dr Clouston and colleagues developed a statistical modeling program which determined from the public health data and weather reports that warmer days with little wind when people socialized outside resulted in significantly more Covid-19 transmission.
The study findings based on their overall analysis revealed that days with temperatures ranging from 16 to 28 degrees C (approximately 61 to 82 degrees F) where wind speed was less than 8.85 kilometers per hour (approximately 5 MPH) had significantly increased COVID-19 incidence compared to similar days with an average wind speed of greater than 8.85 kilometers per hour.
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