26 May 2020 – Policy Brief

The importance of seasonality and climate on the risk of COVID-19: rapid review

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Executive summary

We conducted a rapid reviewof the literature to address the following two questions: (1) What is the role of the climate in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2? (2) To what extent could seasons in Switzerland affect the spread of the virus? We searched the living evidence database for COVID-19 of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) of the University of Bern for relevant studies. We screened 92 publications and included 7 modelling studies, 7 analyses of epidemiological data, 1 systematic review and 1 narrative review. There was broad agreement among studies that season and climatic factors play a role in the transmission of SARS-Cov-2 and the propagation of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, the mitigating effect of higher temperatures / the summer season will be modest and insufficient to control the epidemic.

Date of request: 5/2020
Date of response: 26/5/2020

In response to request from: Krisenstab, FOPH

Comment on planned updates: As soon as a significant amount of new evidence becomes available.

Expert groups and individuals involved: (Carole Dupont, Stefanie Hossmann, Matthias Egger), PH group (Antoine Flahault, Marcel Tanner), Infection Prevetion and Control (Sarah Tschudin-Sutter)

Contact persons: Matthias Egger