How much does long-term air pollution exposure contribute to COVID-19 spread in Italy?

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About This Project

The relationship between air pollution exposure and spread of COVID-19 has revealed that poor air quality may favor COVID-19 transmissibility around the world (China, Netherlands, USA). In Italy, existing studies have just focused on some territories, and/or without considering other important structural concomitant factors, and the movements of people. This should allow unbiased results and lead to a better estimation of the quantitative impact of air pollutants.

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What is the context of this research?

The spread of COVID-19 disease is a global threat that is heavily affecting the life of each person. The relationship between air pollution and COVID-19 spread in Italy seems to be positive and quite significant (1,2, 3, 4, 5). However, these studies have several limitations: i) they just focus on some regions/provinces; ii) they do not consider important covariates (such as demography, weather, habits of population, and infrastructures); iii) they do not consider the spatial dependency of COVID-19 incidence, i.e. the possibility that neighbouring territories may affect each other through the movement of people; iv) they do not consider other potentially dangerous pollutants, such as arsenic, nickel, benzene, benzopyrene, ozone, and cadmium.

What is the significance of this project?

I will consider all the italian territories in order to have a more comprehensive and consistent understanding of the phenomenon. In particular, I will include several co-factors, such as demographic, meteorological, and infrastructural variables. This should allow me to establish the contribution of these factors and that of long-term air pollution exposure on COVID-19 transmissibility and to identify the possible interaction between them.

This is a critical points because some structural factors may matter much more than air quality in spreading of COVID-19 infections. Moreover, some of them may also contribute to mitigate/exacerbate the adverse effect of air pollutants on COVID-19 transmissibility.



What are the goals of the project?

I want to assess the impact of the long-term concentrations of the following air pollutants on COVID-19 transmissibility: arsenic, benezene, benzoapyrene, cadmium, nitrogen dioxide, nickel, ozone, and particulate matter (10 and 2.5). The COVID-19 tranmissibility will be computed by considering the prevalence of infection in the population at the end of 2020.

First, I will collect the data about air pollutants using reports from main environmental national agency (ARPA, ISTAT, etc.), In particular, I will use the data from more than 300 fixed control units for air quality monitoring, spread in Italy.

I will control for demographic (age, population density, etc.), infrastructural (airport, firms, etc), and meteorological (altitude, temperature) features.

Budget

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I am a postdoctoral fellow and will be carrying out the project without additional funding.

The funds received here will be used to collect data, buy license for statistical software, cover pubblication and conference costs. Thus, the most part of the funds will serve to enable the developer of the project to be paid while working on the latter and to strictly focus on its study. The reminaing funds will serve to enable the researcher to share the results in conferences and to cover the main publication costs.

My current institutional affiliation is not involved in the project in any way.

Endorsed by

I believe the reults of this project will answer fundamental questions related to one of the issues of major concern today, i.e. the mechanisms behind the rapid spreading of COVID19, this way helping not only to better understand the current pandemic, but also to efficiently mitigate its effects

Flag iconProject Timeline

This project will be entirely carried out by Dr. Gaetano Perone. In the first three months (at most), I will collect all the data. Then, I will organize data to carry out the statistical analysis. I expect to have results within 4 months from now and to write a working paper within 5 months from now.

Mar 29, 2021

Project Launched

Mar 31, 2021

Time for collecting data from all available official (national) sources

Apr 30, 2021

Organize data in ad hoc statistical worksheet and write the appropriateĀ statistical models.

Jun 30, 2021

Interpret the results and write a working paper

Meet the Team

Gaetano Perone
Gaetano Perone
Post-doctoral research fellow

Affiliates

University of Bergamo (until May 2021)
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Gaetano Perone

I am a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Bergamo, Italy. He has a PhD in Political Economics from the University of Molise, Italy (2017). My research interests mainly concern: i) the macroeconomic consequences of Italian organized crime activities; ii) the impact of labor market flexibility on employment performance in the European countries; iii) and the epidemiology and the forecast of COVID-19.

All my scientific publications are avaible at: https://www.researchgate.net/p...

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

In my recent work (published in "Science of the Total Environment"), I have just assessed the impact of the environemtal factors on COVID-19 mortality in the Italian provinces (my paper).

Thus, this project wants to investigate the other critical dimension of COVID-19, in order to give useful advices for any future epidemics and move environmental issues up the global political agenda.


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