Prior evaluations of the relationship between COVID-19 and weather indicate an inconsistent role of meteorology (weather) in the transmission rate. While some effects due to weather may exist, we found possible misconceptions and biases in the analysis that only consider the impact of meteorological variables alone without considering the urban metabolism and environment. This study highlights that COVID-19 assessments can notably benefit by incorporating factors that account for urban dynamics and environmental exposure. We evaluated the role of weather (considering equivalent temperature that combines the effect of humidity and air temperature) with particular consideration of urban density, mobility, homestay, demographic information, and mask use within communities. Our findings highlighted the importance of considering spatial and temporal scales for interpreting the weather/climate impact on the COVID-19 spread and spatiotemporal lags between the causal processes and effects. On global to regional scales, we found contradictory relationships between weather and the transmission rate, confounded by decentralized policies, weather variability, and the onset of screening for COVID-19, highlighting an unlikely impact of weather alone. At a finer spatial scale, the mobility index (with the relative importance of 34.32%) was found to be the highest contributing factor to the COVID-19 pandemic growth, followed by homestay (26.14%), population (23.86%), and urban density (13.03%). The weather by itself was identified as a noninfluential factor (relative importance < 3%). The findings highlight that the relation between COVID-19 and meteorology needs to consider scale, urban density and mobility areas to improve predictions.
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