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Article

Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and the Exposure to PM2.5 and NO2: A Nationwide Observational Study in Italy

1
Department of Life, Health & Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
2
Specialistic Allergic Unit & Immunological Pathologies, PoliSmail Network, 73100 Lecce, Italy
3
Centro Direzionale Isola F2, Pegaso Online University, 80132 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9318; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249318
Received: 11 November 2020 / Revised: 1 December 2020 / Accepted: 10 December 2020 / Published: 13 December 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected the elderly and areas with higher population density. Among the multiple factors possibly involved, a role for air pollution has also been hypothesized. This nationwide observational study demonstrated the significant positive relationship between COVID-19 incidence rates and PM2.5 and NO2 levels in Italy, both considering the period 2016–2020 and the months of the epidemic, through univariate regression models, after logarithmic transformation of the variables, as the data were not normally distributed. That relationship was confirmed by a multivariate analysis showing the combined effect of the two pollutants, adjusted for the old-age index and population density. An increase in PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations by one unit (1 µg/m3) corresponded to an increase in incidence rates of 1.56 and 1.24 × 104 people, respectively, taking into account the average levels of air pollutants in the period 2016–2020, and 2.79 and 1.24 × 104 people during March–May 2020. Considering the entire epidemic period (March–October 2020), these increases were 1.05 and 1.01 × 104 people, respectively, and could explain 59% of the variance in COVID-19 incidence rates (R2 = 0.59). This evidence could support the implementation of targeted responses by focusing on areas with low air quality to mitigate the spread of the disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; air pollution; NO2; PM2.5; incidence rates; epidemiology; environmental; old age index; population density; linear regression COVID-19; air pollution; NO2; PM2.5; incidence rates; epidemiology; environmental; old age index; population density; linear regression
MDPI and ACS Style

Fiasca, F.; Minelli, M.; Maio, D.; Minelli, M.; Vergallo, I.; Necozione, S.; Mattei, A. Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and the Exposure to PM2.5 and NO2: A Nationwide Observational Study in Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9318. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249318

AMA Style

Fiasca F, Minelli M, Maio D, Minelli M, Vergallo I, Necozione S, Mattei A. Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and the Exposure to PM2.5 and NO2: A Nationwide Observational Study in Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9318. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249318

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fiasca, Fabiana, Mauro Minelli, Dominga Maio, Martina Minelli, Ilaria Vergallo, Stefano Necozione, and Antonella Mattei. 2020. "Associations between COVID-19 Incidence Rates and the Exposure to PM2.5 and NO2: A Nationwide Observational Study in Italy" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 24: 9318. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249318

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