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On the anti-correlation between COVID-19 infection rate and natural UV light in the UK

Blum et al., medRxiv, doi:10.1101/2020.11.28.20240242
Nov 2020  
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Analysis of COVID-19 cases in the UK, showing a correlation between increased UV radiation and lower COVID-19 cases.
Blum et al., 30 Nov 2020, United Kingdom, preprint, 4 authors, study period 23 March, 2020 - 10 March, 2021. Contact: o.lahav@ucl.ac.uk.
This PaperSunlightAll
On the anti-correlation between COVID-19 infection rate and natural UV light in the UK
Arnon Blum, Constantina Nicolaou, Ben Henghes, Ofer Lahav
doi:10.1101/2020.11.28.20240242
While it is well established that the rate of COVID-19 infections can be suppressed by social distancing, environmental effects may also affect it. We consider the hypothesis that natural Ultra-Violet (UV) light is reducing COVID-19 infections by enhancing human immunity through increasing levels of Vitamin-D and Nitric Oxide or by suppressing the virus itself. We focus on the United Kingdom (UK), by examining daily COVID-19 infections (F) and UV Index (UVI) data from 23 March 2020 to 10 March 2021. We find an intriguing empirical anti-correlation between log 10 (F) and log 10 (UVI) with a correlation coefficient of -0.934 from 11 May 2020 (when the first UK lockdown ended) to 10 March 2021. The anti-correlation may reflect causation with other factors which are correlated with the UVI. We advocate that UVI should be added as a parameter in modelling the pattern of COVID-19 infections and deaths. We started quantifying such correlations in other countries and regions.
Author contributions AB has proposed the idea of looking at correlations between the UVI and COVID-19 infections and has contributed to interpretation of results. CN and BH have performed the statistical analysis of this work. OL has proposed analysis tools and plots, has contributed to interpretation and has coordinated the team. Each of the four authors have written sections of the paper. Competing interests The authors declare no competing interests.
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