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COVID and Air Pollution Study

In this study, we examined over 3 million SARS-CoV-2 infections and about 50,000 COVID-19 deaths in California from February 2020 to February 2021 to evaluate risks associated with long-term neighborhood levels of PM2.5

Compared to those living in neighborhoods with the lowest exposure, we found that individuals living in neighborhoods with the highest long-term PM2.5 exposure were:

  • At 20% higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
  • At 51% higher risk of COVID-19 mortality.
  • More likely to be Hispanic and more socioeconomically vulnerable.

We estimate that 9% of COVID-19 deaths during this time would have been prevented if all of California met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5. The full publication is available here.

Key Project Information

Project Time Period

2020 - 2021

Project Funder

California Air Resources Board, Award No. 19RD029: Impact of Air Pollution on COVID-19 Case and Death Risk in California

Project Partners

Technical Assistance Providers

Project Contact:

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Project Publications

  1. Association between long-term exposure to particulate air pollution with SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 deaths in California, U.S.A. [2022] Paul English, Julie Von Behren, John R. Balmes, John Boscardin, Catherine Carpenter, Debbie E. Goldberg, Sophia Horiuchi, Maxwell Richardson, Gina Solomon, Jhaqueline Valle, Peggy Reynolds

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