Impacts of air pollution on COVID-19 case fatality rate: a global analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still rapidly spreading globally. To probe high-risk cities and the impacts of air pollution on public health, this study explores the relationship between the long-term average concentration of air pollution and the city-level case fatality rate (CFR) of COVID-19 globally. Then, geographically weighted regression (GWR) is applied to examine the spatial variability of the relationships. Six air pollution factors, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), PM2.5 (particles with diameter ≤2.5 μm), PM10 (particles with diameter ≤10 μm), and air quality index (AQI), are positively associated with the city-level COVID-19 CFR. Our results indicate that a 1-unit increase in NO2 (part per billion, PPB), SO2 (PPB), O3 (PPB), PM2.5 (microgram per cubic meter, μg/m3), PM10 (μg/m3), AQI (score), is related to a 1.450%, 1.005%, 0.992%, 0.860%, 0.568%, and 0.776% increase in the city-level COVID-19 CFR, respectively. Additionally, the effects of NO2, O3, PM2.5, AQI, and probability of living with poor AQI on COVID-19 spatially vary in view of the estimation of the GWR. In other words, the adverse impacts of air pollution on health are different among the cities. In summary, long-term exposure to air pollution is negatively related to the COVID-19 health outcome, and the relationship is spatially non-stationary. Our research sheds light on the impacts of slashing air pollution on public health in the COVID-19 pandemic to help governments formulate air pollution policies in light of the local situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27496-27509
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of air pollution on COVID-19 case fatality rate: a global analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this