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Low humidity and dry air can increase the risk of Covid-19 virus. Pexels

New research adds to the growing body of evidence that low humidity, dry air can increase the risk of Covid-19 virus.

The study, published in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, focused on the Greater Sydney area during the early epidemic stage of Covid-19 found an association between lower humidity and an increase in community transmission.

“This second study adds to a growing body of evidence that humidity is a key factor in the spread of Covid-19,” said study researcher Michael Ward from the University of Sydney in Australia.

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The estimate is about a 2-fold increase in Covid-19 notifications for a 10 per cent drop in relative humidity. According to the researchers, dry air appears to favour the spread of Covid-19, meaning time and place become important.

Accumulating evidence shows that climate is a factor in Covid-19 spread, raising the prospect of seasonal disease outbreaks. The study revealed that reduced humidity was found in several different regions of Sydney to be consistently linked to increased cases. The same link was not found for other weather factors – rainfall, temperature or wind.

Reduced humidity was found in several different regions of Sydney to be consistently linked to increased cases. Pexels

Additional evidence from the Sydney Covid-19 epidemic has confirmed cases to be associated with humidity. According to the researchers, there are biological reasons why humidity matters in the transmission of airborne viruses.

“When the humidity is lower, the air is drier and it makes the aerosols smaller,” Ward said, adding that aerosols are smaller than droplets.

“When you sneeze and cough those smaller infectious aerosols can stay suspended in the air for longer. That increases the exposure for other people,” he said.

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“When the air is humid and the aerosols are larger and heavier, they fall and hit surfaces quicker,” Ward explained.

“This suggests the need for people to wear a mask, both to prevent infectious aerosols escaping into the air in the case of an infectious individual and exposure to infectious aerosols in the case of an uninfected individual,” the study authors wrote.

Earlier, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that temperature and latitude are not associated with the spread of the Covid-19 disease. (IANS)


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Japan launched its new satellite, QZS-1R.

Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.

The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.

The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.

"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.

The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, reported.

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.

It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).

The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)

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Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

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PARIS — In a decision with potential ramifications across European museums, France is displaying 26 looted colonial-era artifacts for one last time before returning them home to Benin.

The wooden anthropomorphic statues, royal thrones and sacred altars were pilfered by the French army in the 19th century from Western Africa.

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