The COVID-19 incidence in Italian regions correlates with low temperature, mobility and PM10 pollution but lethality only with low temperature


Background: The aim was to verify whether the density of particulate matter (PM10), the climate, and the mobility of people can influence the pandemic in the 19 regions and in the two autonomous Italian provinces as incidence rate and lethality.

Design and methods: The incidence rates per 100,000 inhabitants and the case fatality ratio (CFR) (dependent variables) in all Italian regions were calculated in January 2021 at John Hopkins University Coronavirus Center. The independent variables were: -Minimum average temperatures in the same month (January) of 2020, -Average pollution of PM10 in the air in each region in the last year available reported on a 0-10 scale to 0 = total absence of PM10 to 10 maximum pollutions. -Number of places in hotels occupied per inhabitants in 2020. Linear regression and Multiple Regression Analysis were carried out.

Results: The spread of the COVID-19 in the Italian regions seems to be related to pollution of PM10, the number of beds occupied in hotels (as an index of mobility and temperature (indirect correlation). On the contrary, the CFR correlates inversely with temperature but not with pollution. Measuring the concomitant effect of two independent variables by means of Multiple Regression Analysis, temperature and pollution show a synergistic effect on COVID-19 incidence.

Conclusions: The study seems to confirm the literature on the influence of temperature on the lethality of COVID-19 but adds the new results of an inverse relationship between the spread of the virus and low temperature in regions between the Mediterranean area (which includes southern Italy and Sicily and Sardinia islands) and the cold European temperate zone which includes the northern regions under the Alps. A new date also concerns the summation effect of the risk between cold weather and PM10 air pollution was found. Due to several methodic weakness the study has an exploratory than conclusive relevance.

Authors: Mauro Giovanni Carta, Luigi Minerba, Roberto Demontis, Germano Orrù, Ferdinando Romano, Alessandra Scano, Angelo Restivo, Stefano Del Giacco, Simona Deidda, Davide Firnu, Marcello Campagna, Federico Meloni, Giulia Cossu, Federica Sancassiani, Luchino Chessa, Goce Kalcev, Roberto Littera, Luigi Zorcolo, Cesar Ivan Aviles-Gonzale, Paolo Usai
; Full Source: Journal of public health research 2021 Jun 7. doi: 10.4081/jphr.2021.2303.