FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro"
2020.06
Date: 9/6/2020

The Effects of Air Pollution on COVID-19 Related Mortality in Northern Italy


Authors:
Eric Coker (College of Public Health and Health Professions - University of Florida); Laura Cavalli (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Enrico Fabrizi (Department of Economics and Social Sciences - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Gianni Guastella (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Department of Mathematics and Physics - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Enrico Lippo (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Maria Laura Parisi (Department of Economics and Management - Università degli studi di Brescia); Nicola Pontarollo (Department of Economics and Management - Università degli studi di Brescia); Massimiliano Rizzati (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Alessandro Varacca (Department of Agricultural Economics - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Sergio Vergalli (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Department of Economics and Management - Università degli studi di Brescia)
JEL n.: I18, Q53
Keywords: COVID-19, Mortality, Pollution, Italy, Municipalities

Abstract

Long-term exposure to air pollutant concentrations is known to cause chronic lung inflammation, a condition that may promote increased severity of COVID-19 syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus. In this paper, we empirically investigate the ecologic association between longterm exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) concentration and excess deaths in the first quarter of 2020 in municipalities of Northern Italian. The study accounts for potentially spatial confounding factors related to urbanization that may have influenced the spreading of the novel coronavirus. Our epidemiological analysis uses geographical information (e.g., municipalities) and Poisson regression to assess whether both ambient PM concentration and excess mortality have a similar spatial distribution. Preliminary evidence confirms the hypothesis and suggests a positive association of ambient PM on excess mortality in Northern Italy.

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Suggested citation: Coker, E., L. Cavalli, E. Fabrizi, G. Guastella, E. Lippo, M. L. Parisi, N. Pontarollo, M. Rizzati, A. Varacca, S. Vergalli, (2020), 'The Effects of Air Pollution on COVID-19 Related Mortality in Northern Italy', Nota di Lavoro 6.2020, Milano, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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