Effect of Environmental Pollutants PM2.5, CO, NO2, and O3 on the Incidence and Mortality of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Five Regions of the USA

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 23;18(15):7810. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18157810.


In recent decades, environmental pollution has become a significant international public problem in developing and developed nations. Various regions of the USA are experiencing illnesses related to environmental pollution. This study aims to investigate the association of four environmental pollutants, including particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and Ozone (O3), with daily cases and deaths resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection in five regions of the USA, Los Angeles, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Florida. The daily basis concentrations of PM2.5, CO, NO2, and O3 were documented from two metrological websites. Data were obtained from the date of the appearance of the first case of (SARS-CoV-2) in the five regions of the USA from 13 March to 31 December 2020. Regionally (Los Angeles, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Florida), the number of cases and deaths increased significantly along with increasing levels of PM2.5, CO, NO2 and O3 (p < 0.05), respectively. The Poisson regression results further depicted that, for each 1 unit increase in PM2.5, CO, NO2 and O3 levels, the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections significantly increased by 0.1%, 14.8%, 1.1%, and 0.1%, respectively; for each 1 unit increase in CO, NO2, and O3 levels, the number of deaths significantly increased by 4.2%, 3.4%, and 1.5%, respectively. These empirical estimates demonstrate an association between the environmental pollutants PM2.5, CO, NO2, and O3 and SARS-CoV-2 infections, showing that they contribute to the incidence of daily cases and daily deaths in the five different regions of the USA. These findings can inform health policy decisions about combatting the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in these USA regions and internationally by supporting a reduction in environmental pollution.

Keywords: COVID-19; USA; environmental pollution; mortality; prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Air Pollution* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • COVID-19*
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / toxicity
  • Ozone* / analysis
  • Ozone* / toxicity
  • Pandemics
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Air Pollutants
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide