Special Issue on Air Quality in a Changed World: Regional, Ambient, and Indoor Air Concentrations from the COVID to Post-COVID Era (II)

Kang Lo1, Nguyen Thanh Tung2,3, Chih-Da Wu4,5, Huynh Nguyen Xuan Thao6, Hoang Ba Dung3, Tran Phan Chung Thuy7, Hsiao-Chi Chuang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.8,9,10 

1 Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
2 International Ph.D. Program in Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
3 Otorhinolaryngology Department, Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
4 Department of Geomatics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
5 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan
6 Otorhinolaryngology Department, Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
7 Otorhinolaryngology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
8 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
9 School of Respiratory Therapy, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
10 Cell Physiology and Molecular Image Research Center, Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

Received: September 22, 2021
Revised: December 6, 2021
Accepted: December 20, 2021

 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.210249  

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Cite this article:

Lo, K., Tung, N.T., Wu, C.D., Thao, H.N.X., Dung, H.B., Thuy, T.P.C., Chuang, H.C. (2022). Air Pollution Mediates the Association between Human Mobility and COVID-19 Infection. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 210249. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210249


  • National restrictions in Taiwan may decrease human mobility.
  • A decrease in mobility was associated with air pollution declines.
  • Declines in air pollution levels was associated with a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
  • Air pollution mediated the associations of human mobility with COVID-19 cases.


The effects of the restriction policies on human mobility and on the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission were reported. The efficiency of human mobility restriction due to the social distancing measures of cities on preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the mediating effects of air pollution on the association between human mobility and daily confirmed COVID-19 cases. Daily mobility data (i.e., walking, driving, and using public transport), air pollutants, and confirmed COVID-19 cases were collected in Taiwan during 1 to 30 May 2021. Associations of air pollution with 7-day-lag confirmed COVID-19 cases and with mobility were examined by linear regression models, while the mediating effects were assessed using a PROCESS analysis. We observed that an increase in air pollution was associated with an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases (p < 0.05). We found that 1 min spent on mobility was associated with changes in air pollution levels (p < 0.05). We observed that levels of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of < 10 µm (PM10), PM2.5, NO2, and CO mediated associations of walking, driving, and using public transport with confirmed COVID-19 cases (p < 0.05). Our findings suggest that the nationwide restrictions (social distancing measures) may reduce human mobility and activities, which was associated with a decrease in confirmed COVID-19 cases due to the mediating effects of air pollution. Reductions in human mobility and air pollution could be effective measures for controlling COVID-19 transmission.

Keywords: Air pollution, Particulate matter, Restriction, SARS-CoV-2, Transmission

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