Residential Water Quality and the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States
18 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 9, 2020
Sanitation and hygiene practices to limit the spread of COVID-19 require ample water supply, and communities with poor or untrusted residential water infrastructure rely on bottled water retrieved from outside the home. Thus ability to adhere to sanitation and shelter-in-place recommendations may be limited for households lacking a safe, reliable, and trustworthy piped water source. Consistent with this hypothesis, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has grown faster in counties with lower-quality residential water infrastructure. These findings suggest that, in the short run, distribution of potable water to water-poor households may help slow the spread of COVID-19 or ameliorate community health consequences, and in the long run, investment in residential water infrastructure may increase resilience to future pandemics.
Keywords: COVID-19, potable water quality, health equity
JEL Classification: I00, I14, Q53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation