Whether meteorological factors influence COVID-19 transmission is an issue of major public health concern, but available evidence remains unclear and limited for several reasons, including the use of report date which can lag date of symptom onset by a considerable period . We aimed to generate reliable and robust evidence of this relationship based on date of onset of symptoms . We evaluated important meteorological factors associated with daily COVID-19 counts and effective reproduction number (Rt) in China using a two-stage approach with overdispersed generalized additive models and random-effects meta-analysis . Spatial heterogeneity and stratified analyses by sex and age groups were quantified and potential effect modification was analyzed . Nationwide, there was no evidence that temperature and relative humidity affected COVID-19 incidence and Rt . However, there were heterogeneous impacts on COVID-19 risk across different regions . Importantly, there was a negative association between relative humidity and COVID-19 incidence in Central China: a 1% increase in relative humidity was associated with a 3.92% (95% CI , 1.98% to 5.82 %) decrease in daily counts . Older population appeared to be more sensitive to meteorological conditions, but there was no obvious difference between sexes . Linear relationships were found between meteorological variables and COVID-19 incidence . Sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the association and the results based on report date were biased . Meteorological factors play heterogenous roles on COVID-19 transmission, increasing the possibility of seasonality and suggesting the epidemic is far from over . Considering potential climatic associations, we should maintain, not ease, current control measures and surveillance.