This work analyzes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution over a set of cities in the Po Valley in northern Italy, using satellite and in situ observations. The cities include Milan, Bergamo, and Brescia, the first area of the COVID-19 outbreak and diffusion in Italy, with a higher mortality rate than in other parts of Italy and Europe. The analysis was performed for three years, from May 2018 to April 2021, including the period of first-wave diffusion of COVID-19 over the Po Valley, that is, January 2020-April 2020. The study aimed at giving a more general picture of the NO2 temporal and spatial variation, possibly due to the lockdown adopted for the pandemic crisis containment and other factors, such as the meteorological conditions and the seasonal cycle. We have mainly investigated two effects: first, the correlation of NO2 pollution with atmospheric parameters such as air and dew point temperature, and second the possible correlation between air quality and COVID-19 deaths, which could explain the high mortality rate. We have found a good relationship between air quality and temperature. In light of this relationship, we can conclude that the air quality improvement in March 2020 was primarily because of the lockdown adopted to prevent and limit virus diffusion. We also report a good correlation between NO2 pollution and COVID-19 deaths, which is not seen when considering a reference city in the South of Italy. The critical factor in explaining the difference is the persistence of air pollution in the Po Valley in wintertime. We found that NO2 pollution shows a seasonal cycle, yielding a non-causal correlation with the COVID-19 deaths. However, causality comes in once we read the correlation in the context of current and recent epidemiological evidence and leads us to conclude that air pollution may have acted as a significant risk factor in boosting COVID-19 fatalities.

NO2 pollution over selected cities in the Po valley in 2018-2021 and its possible effects on boosting COVID-19 deaths

Serio, Carmine;Masiello, Guido;Cersosimo, Angela
2022

Abstract

This work analyzes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution over a set of cities in the Po Valley in northern Italy, using satellite and in situ observations. The cities include Milan, Bergamo, and Brescia, the first area of the COVID-19 outbreak and diffusion in Italy, with a higher mortality rate than in other parts of Italy and Europe. The analysis was performed for three years, from May 2018 to April 2021, including the period of first-wave diffusion of COVID-19 over the Po Valley, that is, January 2020-April 2020. The study aimed at giving a more general picture of the NO2 temporal and spatial variation, possibly due to the lockdown adopted for the pandemic crisis containment and other factors, such as the meteorological conditions and the seasonal cycle. We have mainly investigated two effects: first, the correlation of NO2 pollution with atmospheric parameters such as air and dew point temperature, and second the possible correlation between air quality and COVID-19 deaths, which could explain the high mortality rate. We have found a good relationship between air quality and temperature. In light of this relationship, we can conclude that the air quality improvement in March 2020 was primarily because of the lockdown adopted to prevent and limit virus diffusion. We also report a good correlation between NO2 pollution and COVID-19 deaths, which is not seen when considering a reference city in the South of Italy. The critical factor in explaining the difference is the persistence of air pollution in the Po Valley in wintertime. We found that NO2 pollution shows a seasonal cycle, yielding a non-causal correlation with the COVID-19 deaths. However, causality comes in once we read the correlation in the context of current and recent epidemiological evidence and leads us to conclude that air pollution may have acted as a significant risk factor in boosting COVID-19 fatalities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/158927
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