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Does Air Pollution Putting People at Risk During Covid-19 Pandemic? An Investigation in Mumbai, India

Subhojit Shaw, International Institue for Population Science (IIPS)
Aparajita Chattopadhyay, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Viral respiratory infections have evidence of association with air pollution. Spatial hot-spots of COVID-19 infections and fatalities are observed in places exposed to high levels of air pollution in many countries. This study empirically investigates the relationship between exposure to local pollutants (SO2, NO2 and PM10) and COVID-19 infection and death at the smallest administrative level (ward) of Mumbai city. The paper hypothesises that air pollution is associated with COVID-19 infection and pollutants act as determinants of COVID-19 deaths. Kriging is used to assess the spatial variations of air quality, while information on COVID-19 are retrieved from the database of Mumbai municipality. Three years’ annual average of PM10 in Mumbai is much higher than the WHO specified standard across all wards, suburbs are more exposed to SO2, and NO2 pollution. Bivariate local indicator of spatial autocorrelation finds hot spots of high-exposure to pollution and high-presence of COVID-19 infected cases. Spatial auto regressive models suggests that COVID-19 death in Mumbai is distinctly associated with exposure to NO2 (ß=0.00101; p<0.01). The present study has a strong inferences for the mitigation strategies to curtail the spreading of the respiratory disease. These finding could be considered for disease alleviation and better urban living.

Keywords: Health and morbidity

See paper.

  Presented in Session 102. Impact of Environmental Factors on Population Health and Wellbeing (II)