Thursday, December 24, 2020

Do COVID cases spike in cold weather? A look at effective reproduction rates from October to December 2020

Do COVID cases spike in cold weather? In a previous post () I argued that COVID cases may in fact go down in cold weather, due to compensatory adaptation (). The figure below shows the effective COVID reproduction numbers () in various states in the USA from the middle of October to the middle of December 2020. As you can see, as the weather patterns have become colder from October to December, COVID transmission rates have been generally improving.

While the risk of COVID transmission may go up with cold weather, which tends to lead to an increase in indoor activities and potentially higher transmission, people react in a compensatory way. This feedback loop may lead to results that are unexpected and surprising, as we can see here.