Environmental risk factors of airborne viral transmission: Humidity, Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 in the Netherlands
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionGonzales Martinez, R. Ravelli, E. (2021). Environmental risk factors of airborne viral transmission: Humidity, Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 in the Netherlands. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 100432. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sste.2021.100432
Objective: The relationship between specific humidity and influenza/SARS-CoV-2 in the Netherlands is evaluated over time and at regional level. Design: Parametric and non-parametric correlation coefficients are calculated to quantify the relationship between humidity and influenza, using five years of weekly data. Bayesian spatio-temporal models—with a Poisson and a Gaussian likelihood—are estimated to find the relationship between regional humidity and the daily cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the municipalities and provinces of the Netherlands. Results: An inverse (negative) relationship is observed between specific humidity and the incidence of influenza between 2015 and 2019. The space-time analysis indicates that an increase of specific humidity of one gram of water vapor per kilogram of air (1 g/kg) is related to a reduction of approximately 5% in the risk of COVID-19 infections. Conclusions: The increase in humidity during the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 in the Netherlands may have helped to reduce the risk of regional COVID-19 infections. Policies that lead to an increase in house- hold specific humidity to over 6g/Kg will help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2.