Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (IX)

Satya S. Patra1, Subhasmita Panda1,2, Trupti Das1,2, Boopathy Ramasamy  1

1 Environment & Sustainability Department, CSIR-Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT), Bhubaneswar, India
2 Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT), Bhubaneswar, India


Received: July 16, 2020
Revised: September 11, 2020
Accepted: September 17, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0410  

Cite this article:

Patra, S.S., Panda, S., Das, T., Ramasamy, B. (2021). COVID-19 Fatality: Statistical Evidence to Engender the Need for Focal Shift from Air Pollutants to Multi-dimensional Intervention. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200410. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0410


  • Assessed the association of COVID-19 fatality with air pollutant concentration.
  • Analysed log-term PM2.5, NO2, and O3 data from 35 selected cities in 5 countries.
  • Found weak association between long-term pollutant exposure and COVID-19 deaths.
  • Engenders the need of a multidimensional study to understand COVID-19 fatalities.


Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, several researchers worldwide have suggested chronic exposure to air pollutants viz. PM2.5, NO2, and O3 as one of the influencing factors for the increased rate of fatality. However, most of these studies lacked a comprehensive international outlook. A strong correlation on a regional scale might require further investigations to evaluate the transboundary validity. Therefore, the current study aims to explore the statistical soundness of association of COVID-19 fatality with PM2.5, NO2, and O3 concentration levels across 463 air quality monitoring stations located in 35 selected cities from USA, India and European Regions (France, Germany and Italy). An aggregated open-source air quality data source was used to download the PM2.5, NO2, and O3 concentration for > 900 days in the selected cities. The median of this long-term exposure was tested against the COVID-19 fatality rates. A strength of association parameter, ω2, and the coefficient of determination, R2, were used to evaluate the transboundary association. ω2 results indicated that only 24.6%, 0.03% and 15.4% of the variation in COVID-19 fatality rates could be explained using PM2.5, NO2, and O3 concentrations respectively for all the analyzed cities. Further, low values of R2 between pollutant concentrations and COVID-19 fatality rates corroborated the results (0.27 for PM2.5, 0.00038 for NO2 and 0.18 for O3). These observations strongly suggest a focal shift towards the inclusion of more explanatory variables and an extensive multi-disciplinary work is required in order to understand the cause of COVID-19 fatality.

Keywords: COVID-19, Air quality, Fatality rate

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