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    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Research, 204, Part B, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.112071

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Temperature, humidity and outdoor air quality indicators influence COVID-19 spread rate and mortality in major cities of Saudi Arabia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • I.M.I. Ismail
  • M.I. Rashid
  • N. Ali
  • B.A.S. Altaf
  • M. Munir
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Article number112071
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Research
Issue numberPart B
Volume204
Number of pages10
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date23/09/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

There is an increasing evidence that meteorological (temperature, relative humidity, dew) and air quality indicators (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2, CO) are affecting the COVID-19 transmission rate and the number of deaths in many countries around the globe. However, there are contradictory results due to limited observations of these parameters and absence of conclusive evidence on such relationships in cold or hot arid tropical and subtropical desert climate of Gulf region. This is the first study exploring the relationships of the meteorological (temperature, relative humidity, and dew) and air quality indicators (PM10,CO, and SO2) with daily COVID-19 infections and death cases for a period of six months (1st March to August 31, 2020) in six selected cities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by using generalized additive model. The Akaike information criterion (AIC) was used to assess factors affecting the infections rate and deaths through the selection of best model whereas overfitting of multivariate model was avoided by using cross-validation. Spearman correlation indicated that exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) temperature and relative humidity (R > 0.5, P < 0.0001) are the main variables affecting the daily COVID-19 infections and deaths. EWMA temperature and relative humidity showed non linear relationships with the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths (DF > 1, P < 0.0001). Daily COVID-19 infections showed a positive relationship at temperature between 23 and 34.5 °C and relative humidity ranging from 30 to 60%; a negative relationship was found below and/or above these ranges. Similarly, the number of deaths had a positive relationship at temperature ˃28.7 °C and with relative humidity ˂40%, showing higher number of deaths above this temperature and below this relative humidity rate. All air quality indicators had linear relationships with the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths (P < 0.0001). Hence, variation in temperature, relative humidity and air pollution indicators could be important factors influencing the COVID-19 spread and mortality. Under the current scenario with rising temperature and relative humidity, the number of cases is increasing, hence it justifies an active government policy to lessen COVID-19 infection rate.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Research, 204, Part B, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.112071