Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Video June 11, 2020

Air Pollution Exposure and COVID-19: Evidence and Unanswered Questions

Understanding how COVID-19 infections evolve spatially as well as over time can help countries more effectively confront the ongoing pandemic. Air pollution is a key mediator: people living in areas with higher levels of air pollution face a greater risk of infection and of suffering more severe infection. Two factors are at play: (1) preexisting pulmonary illnesses may increase susceptibility to COVID-19 infection; and (2) higher concentrations of fine particulate matter may increase exposure to the coronavirus. In the first presentation of this seminar, David Wheeler provided insights from ongoing work to construct an econometric model of COVID-19 spread that includes air pollution effects. Then, Bo Pieter Johannes Andrée outlined scientific understanding and unanswered questions regarding the connections between air pollution and COVID-19. Finally, Anna Hansell discussed empirical evidence from recent studies of the connection between air pollution exposure and COVID-19 risks.