Coronavirus study says low humidity aids contagion, will coming humid months help Nepal?

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KATHMANDU: A recent study claims that low humidity aids coronavirus outbreak and might recur every year.

The study provides evidence that lower relative humidity is associated with Covid-19 cases, under the conditions of high temperature in the southern hemisphere summer. However, it is to be taken into account that all countries need to maintain vigilance for coronavirus outbreak even during the summer months.

In the paper published in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, a team of scientists claimed that a one per cent decrease in atmospheric humidity may increase the number of COVID-19 cases by six per cent.

In context of Nepal, it can be noted that on average, August is the most humid while April is the least humid. The average annual humidity in the country is 78per cent.

However, the researchers that accessed the relationship between climate and COVID-19 in the southern hemisphere wrote in a statement that further studies are needed to validate the finding and explain how this relationship works. “The extent to which humidity drives COVID-19 case notification rates is unknown.”

According to Michael Ward, co-author of the study and an epidemiologist from the University of Sydney in Australia, “COVID-19 is likely to recur in periods of lower humidity. We need to be thinking if it’s winter time, it could be COVID-19 time.” 

The scientists said that a recent study on the COVID-19 outbreak in China also found an association between transmission and daily temperature and relative humidity. Lower humidity is the main driver rather than colder temperatures, they said. 

According to ward, when the humidity is lower, the air is drier, making the aerosols smaller. “When you sneeze and cough those smaller infectious aerosols can stay suspended in the air for longer. That increases the exposure for other people.


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