Nonuniform Impacts of COVID-19 Lockdown on Air Quality Over the United States
Science of The Total Environment
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Most of the state governments in United States (U.S.) issued lockdown or business restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, which created a unique opportunity to evaluate the air quality response to reduced economic activities. Data acquired from 28 long-term air quality stations across the U.S. revealed widespread but nonuniform reductions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) during the first phase of lockdown (March 15–April 25, 2020) relative to a pre-lockdown reference period and historical baselines established in 2017–2019. The reductions, up to 49% for NO2 and 37% for CO, are statistically significant at two thirds of the sites and tend to increase with local population density. Significant reductions of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) only occurred in the Northeast and California/Nevada metropolises where NO2 declined the most, while the changes in ozone (O3) were mixed and relatively minor. These findings are consistent with lower transportation and utility demands that dominate NO2 and CO emissions, especially in major urban areas, due to the lockdown. This study provides an insight into potential public health benefits with more aggressive air quality management, which should be factored into strategies to reopen the U.S. and global economy.
COVID-19; Air pollution; Criteria air pollutants; NCore network; Urban-rural contrast
Environmental Sciences | Infectious Disease | Rural Sociology | Urban Studies | Virus Diseases
Chen, L. A.,
Nonuniform Impacts of COVID-19 Lockdown on Air Quality Over the United States.
Science of The Total Environment, 745(25),