A study found that places with a major coronavirus outbreak have similar climates. Scientists say their weather modeling could predict what regions will be hit by the virus next.
Scientists have found “striking similarity” in temperature and humidity between regions that have reported major coronavirus outbreaks.
The researchers found that the places share anaverage temperature of 5°C to 11°C (41°F to 52°F) and 47% to 79% humidity.
They are located along the same temperature zone in the northern hemisphere. It includes outbreak epicenters such as China’s central province of Hubei, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Northwestern America and Northern Italy.
The study, done by a group of scientists from the US and Iran, was published on March 9 and is awaiting review by peer experts.
The researchers said they may be able to predict which regions will be most likely hit by the virus in the upcoming weeks using methods of weather modeling.
The study said a coronavirus outbreak could emerge in areas just north of the current outbreak zone.
While the researchers said their predictions are speculative and do not take into account human factors such as travel and public health measures, large cities indicated as at risk include London, Berlin, Prague, Hamburg, Vancouver, New York and Kiev.
But if temperatures warmed rapidly, the risks to these areas might be mitigated, the researchers added.
The study was part of wider efforts by scientists to understand which traits the new coronavirus shared with other human coronaviruses and flu viruses, which display strong winter seasonality.
The team said that none of the cities affected by the coronavirus reported minimum temperatures below 0 degree Celsius (32°F), which may help to understand the virus’s preferred climate.
The study echoes the findings of two other recent studies undergoing peer review.
Earlier, researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, found that transmission of the coronavirus was “highly sensitive” to high temperature.
Another recent study, conducted by scientists in Beijing, showed that areas with lower temperatures and lower humidity suffered more severe outbreaks than places that were warmer and had higher humidity.