Balboni E, Filippini T, Rothman KJ, Costanzini S, Bellino S, Pezzotti P, Brusaferro S, Ferrari F, Orsini N, Teggi S, Vinceti M
Environ Res 228 (-) 115796 [2023-04-03; online 2023-04-03]
The relation between meteorological factors and COVID-19 spread remains uncertain, particularly with regard to the role of temperature, relative humidity and solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation. To assess this relation, we investigated disease spread within Italy during 2020. The pandemic had a large and early impact in Italy, and during 2020 the effects of vaccination and viral variants had not yet complicated the dynamics. We used non-linear, spline-based Poisson regression of modeled temperature, UV and relative humidity, adjusting for mobility patterns and additional confounders, to estimate daily rates of COVID-19 new cases, hospital and intensive care unit admissions, and deaths during the two waves of the pandemic in Italy during 2020. We found little association between relative humidity and COVID-19 endpoints in both waves, whereas UV radiation above 40 kJ/m2 showed a weak inverse association with hospital and ICU admissions in the first wave, and a stronger relation with all COVID-19 endpoints in the second wave. Temperature above 283 K (10 °C/50 °F) showed a strong non-linear negative relation with COVID-19 endpoints, with inconsistent relations below this cutpoint in the two waves. Given the biological plausibility of a relation between temperature and COVID-19, these data add support to the proposition that temperature above 283 K, and possibly high levels of solar UV radiation, reduced COVID-19 spread.