Assessing nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) levels as a contributing factor to coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality

Sci Total Environ. 2020 Jul 15;726:138605. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138605. Epub 2020 Apr 11.

Abstract

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is an ambient trace-gas result of both natural and anthropogenic processes. Long-term exposure to NO2 may cause a wide spectrum of severe health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases and even death. The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between long-term exposure to NO2 and coronavirus fatality. The Sentinel-5P is used for mapping the tropospheric NO2 distribution and the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis for evaluating the atmospheric capability to disperse the pollution. The spatial analysis has been conducted on a regional scale and combined with the number of death cases taken from 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Results show that out of the 4443 fatality cases, 3487 (78%) were in five regions located in north Italy and central Spain. Additionally, the same five regions show the highest NO2 concentrations combined with downwards airflow which prevent an efficient dispersion of air pollution. These results indicate that the long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the COVID-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)); Sentinel-5P.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollution*
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Europe
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral*
  • SARS-CoV-2

Substances

  • Air Pollutants
  • Nitrogen Dioxide