Xavier Rodó – Institut de Salut Global Barcelona (ISGlobal)

At a time when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was progressing out of control in Spain, we implemented a discrete-time epidemiological model specifically tailored to describe the transmission dynamics of SARS-COV-2, the etiological agent of COVID-19. We anticipated a collapse in the health care system in Spain in terms of its ICU capacity unless severe confinement restrictions were imposed. The model estimated the risk rate for each Spanish municipality, considering the following parameters: (1) the transmission dynamics of SARS-COV-2, (2) the usual movement patterns of the Spanish population, and (3) the demographics of the Spanish population.

This study was supplemented late in the year by a cautionary article in which we pointed that early studies of weather, seasonality, and environmental influences on COVID-19 have yielded inconsistent and confusing results. To provide policy-makers and the public with meaningful and actionable environmentally-informed COVID-19 risk estimates, the research community must meet robust methodological and communication standards.

Zaitchik B, Sweijd N, Shumake-Guillemot J, Morse A, Gordon C, … & Rodó X, 2020, ‘A framework for research linking weather, climate and COVID-19’, Nature Comms., 11:5730.
Mitjà O, Arenas À, Rodó X, Tobias A et al, 2020, ‘Experts’ request to the Spanish Government: move Spain towards complete lockdown’, The Lancet, 395(10231):1193-1194.