Assessing the country-level excess all-cause mortality and the impacts of air pollution and human activity during the covid-19 epidemic

Yuan Meng, Man Sing Wong, Hanfa Xing, Mei Po Kwan, Rui Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on cause-specific mortality has been investigated on a global scale. However, less is known about the excess all-cause mortality and air pollution-human activity responses. This study estimated the weekly excess all-cause mortality during COVID-19 and evaluated the impacts of air pollution and human activities on mortality variations during the 10th to 52nd weeks of 2020 among sixteen countries. A SARIMA model was adopted to estimate the mortality benchmark based on short-term mortality during 2015–2019 and calculate excess mortality. A quasi-likelihood Poisson-based GAM model was further applied for air pollution/human activity response evaluation, namely ground-level NO2 and PM2.5 and the visit frequencies of parks and workplaces. The findings showed that, compared with COVID-19 mortality (i.e., cause-specific mortality), excess all-cause mortality changed from −26.52% to 373.60% during the 10th to 52nd weeks across the sixteen countries examined, revealing higher excess all-cause mortality than COVID-19 mortality in most countries. For the impact of air pollution and human activities, the average country-level relative risk showed that one unit increase in weekly NO2, PM2.5, park visits and workplace visits was associated with approximately 1.54% increase and 0.19%, 0.23%, and 0.23% decrease in excess all-cause mortality, respectively. Moreover, compared with the impact on COVID-19 mortality, the relative risks of weekly NO2 and PM2.5 were lower, and the relative risks of weekly park and workplace visits were higher for excess all-cause mortality. These results suggest that the estimation based on excess all-cause mortality reduced the potential impact of air pollution and enhanced the influence of human activities compared with the estimation based on COVID-19 mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6883
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • COVID-19 mortality
  • Excess mortality
  • Human activities
  • NO
  • PM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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