May 22, 2020

Neguse, Castor, Sherrill Lead Calls for Coordinated COVID-19 Seasonality Research

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, along with the Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Kathy Castor and Chair of the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Environment Mikie Sherrill led a letter urging the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to direct all federal science agencies to collaborate on research into the seasonality of COVID-19. In a letter to OSTP Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Congressman Neguse and others noted the need to rapidly improve our understanding of how temperature, humidity, and climate impacts the transmission of COVID-19. 

“As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, the impact of temperature and humidity on transmission has emerged as a critically important research area,” said Congressman Neguse. “It is vitally important that decisions being made for our communities, to prevent and slow the spread of the virus are based in science with the best knowledge that we have. Federal research on the seasonality of COVID-19 will equip public health officials and policymakers to make informed decisions to protect public health and reduce the economic impact of the virus.” 

“Uniting behind the science and leveraging American ingenuity across the federal government will help us develop smart, long-term solutions to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chair Castor. “The OSTP has a unique opportunity to expand our knowledge on how the novel coronavirus reacts to factors like humidity and temperature, which can help us better protect Americans in places like my home state of Florida and continue to flatten the curve of transmission.”

“It’s critical that we engage the federal scientific community to further our understanding of COVID-19 so we can keep communities safe and reduce the spread of the virus,” said Chairwoman Sherrill. “Here in the U.S., we have some of the greatest research institutions that are looking at all factors that influence transmission and survivability of the virus. Coordinated federal research on seasonality will help us predict patterns of transmission as the seasons change, so that we can direct resources to those most at risk.”

“As we approach summer, it is imperative to better understand how warmer temperatures and higher humidity will affect COVID-19,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “UCAR and its research partners stand ready to apply their expertise to this issue and provide decision makers with the best possible information as they work to keep Americans safe during this pandemic.”

You can read the letter here.