Is Exposure to Air Pollution a Risk Factor for COVID-19 Fatality Rate? Evidence from India As of May 15, 2020
22 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 31, 2020
Many studies have revealed the negative effects of air pollution on respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, pregnancy outcomes, and neurocognitive diseases. In developing countries, notably in South Asia, both ambient air pollution (AAP) and household air pollution (HAP) cost millions of lives every year. However, the evidence linking air pollution exposure to COVID-19 deaths is scarce in the developing country context as most existing studies are focused on moderately polluted countries such as the US, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. Our study fills this gap by investigating the link between air pollution exposure and the COVID-19 fatality rate in India as of May 15, 2015. We use PM2.5 levels and the share of biomass for cooking indoors as proxies to measure exposure to AAP and HAP, respectively. The results using inference with arbitrary clustering in space suggest that the COVID-19 fatality rate is positively correlated to HAP, but not to AAP. This result could be specific to India. However, it may apply to other developing countries, where a high level of indoor air pollution is a critical development and health issue. Further investigation is needed to establish causality and to use the latest data available as COVID-19 cases and deaths in India continue to rise.
Note: Funding: This work was financially supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant Number 18K01580, and Keio Gijuku Academic Development Funds.
Declaration of Interest: None to declare
Keywords: COVID-19 Fatality Rate; Ambient Air Pollution (AAP); Household Air Pollution (HAP); PM2.5; Inference with Arbitrary Clustering in Space; India
JEL Classification: O13, F64, Q51, Q52, Q53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation