Impact of meteorological conditions and air pollution on COVID-19 pandemic transmission in Italy

Simone Lolli, Ying Chieh Chen, Sheng Hsiang Wang, Gemine Vivone

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58 Scopus citations

Abstract

Italy was the first, among all the European countries, to be strongly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2). The virus, proven to be very contagious, infected more than 9 million people worldwide (in June 2020). Nevertheless, it is not clear the role of air pollution and meteorological conditions on virus transmission. In this study, we quantitatively assessed how the meteorological and air quality parameters are correlated to the COVID-19 transmission in two large metropolitan areas in Northern Italy as Milan and Florence and in the autonomous province of Trento. Milan, capital of Lombardy region, it is considered the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Italy. Our main findings highlight that temperature and humidity related variables are negatively correlated to the virus transmission, whereas air pollution (PM2.5) shows a positive correlation (at lesser degree). In other words, COVID-19 pandemic transmission prefers dry and cool environmental conditions, as well as polluted air. For those reasons, the virus might easier spread in unfiltered air-conditioned indoor environments. Those results will be supporting decision makers to contain new possible outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16213
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

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