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A negative correlation between ambient temperature and COVID-19 mortality has been observed. However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reinforced the importance of government interventions and warned countries against relaxing control measures due to warmer temperatures. Further understanding of this relationship is needed to help plan vaccination campaigns opportunely. Using a two-stage regression model, we conducted cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses to evaluate the association between monthly ambient temperature lagged by one month with the COVID-19 number of deaths and the probability of high-level of COVID-19 mortality in 150 countries during time t = 60, 90, and 120 days since the onset. First, we computed a log-linear regression to predict the pre-COVID-19 respiratory disease mortality to homogenize the baseline disease burden within countries. Second, we employed negative binomial and logistic regressions to analyze the linkage between the ambient temperature and our outcomes, adjusting by pre-COVID-19 respiratory disease mortality rate, among other factors. The increase of one Celsius degree in ambient temperature decreases the incidence of COVID-19 deaths (IRR = 0.93; SE: 0.026, p-value<0.001) and the probability of high-level COVID-19 mortality (OR = 0.96; SE: 0.019; p-value<0.001) over time. High-income countries from the northern hemisphere had lower temperatures and were most affected by pre-COVID respiratory disease mortality and COVID-19 mortality. This study provides a global perspective corroborating the negative association between COVID-19 mortality and ambient temperature. Our longitudinal findings support the statement made by the WMO. Effective, opportune, and sustained reaction from countries can help capitalize on higher temperatures' protective role including the timely rollout of vaccination campaigns.

Original publication





Pathog Glob Health

Publication Date





319 - 329


COVID-19, environment and public health, global health, government, mortality, temperature, COVID-19, Cross-Sectional Studies, Humans, Incidence, SARS-CoV-2, Temperature