Document Type: SHORT COMMUNICATION

Author

Division of Sustainable Development, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation, Education City, P.O. Box 5825, Doha, Qatar

Abstract

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on December 31st, 2019. As the number of coronavirus infections has exceeded 100,000 with toll deaths of about 5000 worldwide as of early March, 2020, scientists and researchers are racing to investigate the nature of this virus and evaluate the short and long term effects of this disease. Despite its negative impacts that obliged the World Health Organization to declare COVID-19 epidemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the rate of mortality of this infection has not exceeded 3.4% globally. On the other hand, the mortality rate caused by ambient air pollution has contributed to 7.6% of all deaths in 2016 worldwide. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced China to lockdown its industrial activities and hence dropped its NO2 and carbon emissions by 30 and 25%, respectively. This work reports on the first case study that compares the air quality status before and after the crisis. It sheds light on the facts related to the demographics of deaths by gender, age and health status before infection. The historical data on air quality, estimates of annual deaths and its economic burden have been presented and analyzed. The actual daily deaths due to COVID-19 have been obtained from the official records of the daily Situation Reports published by World Health Organization as of March 11th. The rate of mortality due to COVID-19 was impacted by two factors: age and health status. Results show that 75% of deaths were related to cases that had underlying present diseases with the majority aged of 80+ years. The reported figures were compared with the average daily mortality due to poor air quality which reached up to 3287 deaths due to high levels of NO2, O3 and PM. The air quality status before the crisis was compared with the current situation showing that COVID-19 forced-industrial and anthropogenic activities lockdown may have saved more lives by preventing ambient air pollution than by preventing infection.

Graphical Abstract

Highlights

  • COVID-19 has forced China to lockdown its activities to curtail the spread of the virus;
  • NASA satellite images show that China’s lockdown has reduced NO2 emissions by 30%;
  • NASA satellite images show that China’s lockdown has reduced carbon emissions by 25%;
  • Mortality rate due to air pollution is 7.6% compared with 3.4% of COVD-19 as of March 11th;
  • The huge drop in air pollution by COVID-19 quarantine measures would positively impact human health.

Keywords

Main Subjects

Aissa, B.; Isaifan, R.J.; Abdulla, A.; Madhavan, V., (2016). Structural and physical properties of the desert-dust particles and their influence on the PV panels’ performance in Qatar. Sci. Rep., 6: 31467.

Al-Ahmadi, K.; Al-Zahrani, A., (2013). NO2 and cancer incidence in Saudi Arabia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 10(11): 5844–5862 (19 pages).

Al-Thani, H.; Koc, M.; Isaifan, R., (2018). Investigations on deposited dust fallout in urban Doha: Characterization, source apportionment and mitigation. Environ. Ecol. Res., 6(5): 493–506 (14 pages).

Carbon, B., (2020). Analysis: Coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter.

Cui, J.; Li, F.; Shi, Z.L., (2019). Origin and evolution of pathogenic coronaviruses. Nature Rev. Microbiol., 17(3): 181–192 (12 pages).

Fang, D.; Wang, Q.; Li, H.; Yu, Y.; Lu, Y.; Qian, X., (2016). Mortality effects assessment of ambient PM2.5 pollution in the 74 leading cities of China. Sci. Total Environ., 569(1): 1545–1552 (8 pages).

Ghani, A.C.; Donnelly, C.A.; Cox, D.R.; Griffin, J.T.; Fraser, C.; Lam, T.H.; Ho, L.M., (2005). Methods for estimating the case fatality ratio for a novel, emerging infectious disease. Am. J. Epidemiol., 162(5): 479–486 (8 pages).

Gopalaswami, P., (2016). A study on effects of weather, vehicular traffic and other sources of particulate air pollution on the city of Delhi for the year 2015. J. Environ. Pollut. Hum. Health. 4(2): 24–41 (18 pages).

He, G.; Fan, M.; Zhou, M., (2015). The effect of air pollution on mortality in China : Evidence from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies (62 pages).

Isaifan, R.J.; Samara, A.; Suwaileh, W.; Johnson, D.; Yiming, W.; Abdallah, A.A.; Aïssa, B., (2017). Improved Self-cleaning properties of an efficient and easy to scale up TiO2 thin films prepared by adsorptive self-assembly. Sci. Rep., 7(1): 9466 (9 pages).

Jeffries, I.,(2011) Economic developments in contemporary China: A Guide, Routledge, New York, (717 pages).

Jyoti, K.; Kumar, A.; Arora, M.; Deshpande, A., (2020). Estimating premature mortality attributable to PM2.5 exposure and benefit of air pollution control policies in China for 2020. Sci. Total Environ. 612, 683–693 (11 pages). 

Karimzadegan, H.; Rahmatian, M.; Farhud, D.; Yunesian, M., (2008). Economic valuation of air pollution health impacts in Tehran area, Iran. Iran. J. Public Heal. 37(1): 20–30 (11 pages).

Liu, W.; Xu, Z.; Yang, T., (2018). Health effects of air pollution in China. Int. J. Environ. Research Public Heal. 15(7): 1–15 (15 pages).

Matus, K.; Nam, K.; Selin, N.E.; Lamsal, L.N.; Reilly, J.M., (2011). Science and Policy of Global Change Health Damages from Air Pollution in China, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Changes (25 pages).

Mokoena, K.; Ethan, C.; Yu, Y.; Shale, K.; Liu, F., (2019). Ambient air pollution and respiratory mortality in Xian China: A time-series analysis. Respir. Res. 20: 1–9 (9 pages).

NASA. (2020). Airborne nitrogen dioxide plummets Over China.

NHC, (2020). New Coronavirus Pneumonia Prevention and Control. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China.

Parry, I.; Mylonas, V.; Vernon, N., (2017). Reforming Energy Policy in India : Assessing the Options. IMF Working Paper (51 pages).

Reuters, (2018). Beijing sees April pollution levels rise as industry curbs end.

Roshan, D.; Koc, M.; Isaifan, R.J.; Shahid, M.; Fountoukis, C., (2019). Aerosol optical thickness over large urban environments of the Arabian Peninsula -speciation, variability and distributions. Atmosphere 10(5): 228–249 (22 pages).

Science Daily, (2016). Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually.

Shen, J.; Tang, A.; Liu, X.; Kopsch, J.; Fangmeier, A.; Goulding, K.; Zhang, F., (2011). Impacts of pollution controls on air quality in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.  J. Environ. Qual., 40(1): 37-45 (9 pages).

Slovic, A.D.; de Oliveira, M.A.; Biehl, J.; Ribeiro, H., (2016). How can urban policies improve air quality and

help mitigate global climate change: A systematic mapping review. J. Urban Heal. 93(1): 73–95 (23 pages).

Statistica, (2016). Europe matches Asian giants in air pollution deaths.

UBC, (2016). Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually. University of British Columbia.

The Verge, (2020). Maps show drastic drop in China’s air pollution after Coronavirus quarantine.

WHO, (2020a). Air pollution. World Health Organization.  

WHO, (2020b). Coronavirus disease 2019 (Situation Report-51). World Health Organization. 

WHO, (2020c). Mortality and burden of disease from ambient air pollution. World Health Organization.

WHO, (2020d). Pneumonia of unknown cause- China. World Health Organization.  

Worldometer. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) mortality rate.

Xing, Y.F.; Xu, Y.H.; Shi, M.H.; Lian, Y.X., (2016). The impact of PM2.5 on the human respiratory system. J. Thorac. Dis. 8(1): E69–E74 (6 pages). 


Letters to Editor


GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.

CAPTCHA Image