Although the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing, the environmental factors beyond virus transmission are only partially known. This statistical study has the aim to identify the key factors that have affected the virus spread during the early phase of pandemic in Italy, among a wide set of potential determinants concerning demographics, environmental pollution and climate. Because of its heterogeneity in pollution levels and climate conditions, Italy provides an ideal scenario for an ecological study. Moreover, the selected period excludes important confounding factors, as different virus variants, restriction policies or vaccines. The short-term relationship between the infection maximum increase and demographic, pollution and meteo-climatic parameters was investigated, including both winter-spring and summer 2020 data, also focusing separately on the two seasonal periods and on North vs Centre-South. Among main results, the importance of population size confirmed social distancing as a key management option. The pollution hazardous role undoubtedly emerged, as NO2 affected infection increase in all the studied scenarios, PM2.5 manifested its impact in North of Italy, while O3 always showed a protective action. Whereas higher temperatures were beneficial, especially in the cold season with also wind and relative humidity, solar irradiance was always relevant, revealing several significant interactions with other co-factors. Presented findings address the importance of the environment in Sars-CoV-2 spread and indicated that special carefulness should be taken in crowded areas, especially if they are highly polluted and weakly exposed to sun. The results suggest that containment of future epidemics similar to Covid-19 could be supported by reducing environmental pollution, achieving safer social habits and promoting preventive health care for better immune system response, as an only comprehensive strategy.

Early-phase pandemic in Italy: Covid-19 spread determinant factors / P. Urso, A. Cattaneo, S. Pulvirenti, F. Vercelli, D.M. Cavallo, P. Carrer. - In: HELIYON. - ISSN 2405-8440. - 9:4(2023 Apr), pp. e15358.1-e15358.16. [10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e15358]

Early-phase pandemic in Italy: Covid-19 spread determinant factors

S. Pulvirenti;F. Vercelli;P. Carrer
Ultimo
2023

Abstract

Although the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing, the environmental factors beyond virus transmission are only partially known. This statistical study has the aim to identify the key factors that have affected the virus spread during the early phase of pandemic in Italy, among a wide set of potential determinants concerning demographics, environmental pollution and climate. Because of its heterogeneity in pollution levels and climate conditions, Italy provides an ideal scenario for an ecological study. Moreover, the selected period excludes important confounding factors, as different virus variants, restriction policies or vaccines. The short-term relationship between the infection maximum increase and demographic, pollution and meteo-climatic parameters was investigated, including both winter-spring and summer 2020 data, also focusing separately on the two seasonal periods and on North vs Centre-South. Among main results, the importance of population size confirmed social distancing as a key management option. The pollution hazardous role undoubtedly emerged, as NO2 affected infection increase in all the studied scenarios, PM2.5 manifested its impact in North of Italy, while O3 always showed a protective action. Whereas higher temperatures were beneficial, especially in the cold season with also wind and relative humidity, solar irradiance was always relevant, revealing several significant interactions with other co-factors. Presented findings address the importance of the environment in Sars-CoV-2 spread and indicated that special carefulness should be taken in crowded areas, especially if they are highly polluted and weakly exposed to sun. The results suggest that containment of future epidemics similar to Covid-19 could be supported by reducing environmental pollution, achieving safer social habits and promoting preventive health care for better immune system response, as an only comprehensive strategy.
Demographics; Irradiance; NO; 2; O; 3; PM; 2.5; Sars-CoV-2
Settore MED/44 - Medicina del Lavoro
apr-2023
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/967643
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