Health | COVID-19 Research Task Team | Activities
Briefing Note: Recommendations from the WMO COVID-19 Task Team
The WMO COVID-19 Task Team published a Briefing Note providing recommendations for national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS) to facilitate the appropriate use of meteorological, climate and air quality information and services for COVID-19 and potential future pandemics. The publication presents the current state of understanding of meteorological and air quality (MAQ) affecting SARS-COV-2 transmission and COVID-19 severity, in particular referring to Seasonality, Air Quality and Compound Hazards.
Key recommendations include enhancing long-term collaboration between climate services and public health communities, and establishing clear institutional arrangements including clear corresponding roles and ownership to support critical public health research and response. Unrestricted access to data needs to be continued to ensure emergency and pandemic readiness. The Task Team recommended clear documentation and regular updating of datasets, methods and frameworks for risk assessment. Co-developed integrated climate and disease surveillance systems or observatories can support the effective use of climate science and services in the context of emergencies. Managing expectations and responsibly applying emerging understanding considering a balance of timeliness versus uncertainty is key to address current and future emerging public health threats.
The Briefing Note can be downloaded here.
Series of Virtual COVID-19 Roundtables
The WMO COVID-19 Task Team is hosting a series of virtual roundtable events on experiences with, and prospects for, actionable meteorologically-informed decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. These roundtables, undertaken in collaboration with the WMO-WHO Integrated Health Services Study Group, will also elicit lessons learned that can help guide the development of climate services for health.
The events feature expert panel discussions on targeted topics relating to the ways in which COVID-19 has influenced the production and use of meteorological information and the potential for meteorology to inform the COVID-19 response, and future disease outbreaks or pandemics.
Second COVID-19 Task Team Roundtable:
Covid-19 Seasonality: current understanding and relevance to decision-making
22 September 2021 15:00 - 17:00 (CEST)
Through the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, waves of elevated transmission have occurred in all seasons in nearly all climate zones. Nevertheless, epidemic projections have, from the beginning, included expectation that the disease might eventually fall into a seasonal pattern similar to many other respiratory viral infections. This expectation has been supported to some extent by laboratory studies of SARS-CoV-2, as well as by epidemiological studies that have attempted to tease a seasonal signal out of a short, noisy, and variable data record. Understanding the role of seasonality in the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is of high relevance in formulating public health interventions. However, it is not clear how decision-makers can make best use of seasonal epidemic and meteorological projections to inform planning and risk management, given the complicated context of COVID-19 variants, vaccination campaigns, changes in acquired immunity across populations, and shifting policy mandates.
This roundtable event convenes leading researchers focused on COVID-19 seasonality, operational disease forecasters and meteorological service providers, and health system experts to address the roles that seasonal risk monitoring and projection can play in COVID-19 response.
First COVID-19 Task Team Roundtable:
Compound Climate Hazards and COVID-19
30 June 2021 15:00 - 17:00 (CEST)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines compound events as (1) two or more extreme events occurring simultaneously or successively, (2) combinations of extreme events with underlying conditions that amplify the impact of the events, or (3) combinations of events that are not themselves extremes but lead to an extreme event or impact when combined. This definition of compound events is now embedded within the IPCC risk framework under the umbrella of a combination of multiple drivers and/or hazards that contribute to societal or environmental risks. The concept of compound extremes can be employed and solicited through interdisciplinary research and practitioner experiences in various sectors including human health, water, climate, food, insurance, risk disasters and infrastructure.
This workshop addresses the complex challenges associated with compound events when one of the amplifying conditions is an epidemic of an infectious disease like COVID-19. Speakers discuss experience with these challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as management of health risk during major storms or heat waves, explain how the presence of COVID-19 alters extreme event preparedness and response, and address the roles that climate services can play to protect health during extreme events in the context of elevated disease transmission risk.
The roundtables, undertaken in collaboration with the WMO/WHO Integrated Health Services Study Group, also elicits lessons learned that can help guide the development of climate services for health.
Please find the slides of the event here.
First Report of the COVID-19 Task Team:
Review on Meteorological and Air Quality Factors Affecting the COVID-19 Pandemic
This First Report of the WMO Research Board COVID-19 Task Team, provides an assessment of the state of knowledge of meteorological and air quality (MAQ) factors influencing the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report critically appraises peer reviewed studies on the role of MAQ factors (Temperature, Humidity, Solar radiation, Air Quality, etc.) on the spatial and temporal variability of COVID-19 incidence and severity across climate zones, including clear interrogation of uncertainties. It also assesses the role of changing seasons on the trajectory of the pandemic at a range of time and space scales; and identifies appropriate methods, data and operational issues which can improve good practices in research and climate and environmental services.
The First COVID-19 Report can be found here.
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