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1.
Lancet Planet Health ; 6(3): e181-e183, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768696

Subject(s)
City Planning , Cities
2.
Environ Pollut ; 304: 119124, 2022 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1763721

ABSTRACT

Responses to COVID-19 altered environmental exposures and health behaviours associated with non-communicable diseases. We aimed to (1) quantify changes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), noise, physical activity, and greenspace visits associated with COVID-19 policies in the spring of 2020 in Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), and Stockholm (Sweden), and (2) estimated the number of additional and prevented diagnoses of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, depression, and anxiety based on these changes. We calculated differences in NO2, noise, physical activity, and greenspace visits between pre-pandemic (baseline) and pandemic (counterfactual) levels. With two counterfactual scenarios, we distinguished between Acute Period (March 15th - April 26th, 2020) and Deconfinement Period (May 2nd - June 30th, 2020) assuming counterfactual scenarios were extended for 12 months. Relative risks for each exposure difference were estimated with exposure-risk functions. In the Acute Period, reductions in NO2 (range of change from -16.9 µg/m3 to -1.1 µg/m3), noise (from -5 dB(A) to -2 dB(A)), physical activity (from -659 MET*min/wk to -183 MET*min/wk) and greenspace visits (from -20.2 h/m to 1.1 h/m) were largest in Barcelona and smallest in Stockholm. In the Deconfinement Period, NO2 (from -13.9 µg/m3 to -3.1 µg/m3), noise (from -3 dB(A) to -1 dB(A)), and physical activity levels (from -524 MET*min/wk to -83 MET*min/wk) remained below pre-pandemic levels in all cities. Greatest impacts were caused by physical activity reductions. If physical activity levels in Barcelona remained at Acute Period levels, increases in annual diagnoses for MI (mean: 572 (95% CI: 224, 943)), stroke (585 (6, 1156)), depression (7903 (5202, 10,936)), and anxiety (16,677 (926, 27,002)) would be anticipated. To decrease cardiovascular and mental health impacts, reductions in NO2 and noise from the first COVID-19 surge should be sustained, but without reducing physical activity. Focusing on cities' connectivity that promotes active transportation and reduces motor vehicle use assists in achieving this goal.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Stroke , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities/epidemiology , Environmental Exposure/analysis , Health Behavior , Humans , Mental Health , Nitrogen Dioxide/analysis , Nitrogen Dioxide/chemistry , Pandemics , Particulate Matter/analysis
4.
Environ Health Perspect ; 129(11): 117003, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523382

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence links ambient air pollution with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disease, an association that is methodologically challenging to investigate. OBJECTIVES: We examined the association between long-term exposure to air pollution with SARS-CoV-2 infection measured through antibody response, level of antibody response among those infected, and COVID-19 disease. METHODS: We contacted 9,605 adult participants from a population-based cohort study in Catalonia between June and November 2020; most participants were between 40 and 65 years of age. We drew blood samples from 4,103 participants and measured immunoglobulin M (IgM), IgA, and IgG antibodies against five viral target antigens to establish infection to the virus and levels of antibody response among those infected. We defined COVID-19 disease using self-reported hospital admission, prior positive diagnostic test, or more than three self-reported COVID-19 symptoms after contact with a COVID-19 case. We estimated prepandemic (2018-2019) exposure to fine particulate matter [PM with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5µm (PM2.5)], nitrogen dioxide (NO2), black carbon (BC), and ozone (O3) at the residential address using hybrid land-use regression models. We calculated log-binomial risk ratios (RRs), adjusting for individual- and area-level covariates. RESULTS: Among those tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, 743 (18.1%) were seropositive. Air pollution levels were not statistically significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection: Adjusted RRs per interquartile range were 1.07 (95% CI: 0.97, 1.18) for NO2, 1.04 (95% CI: 0.94, 1.14) for PM2.5, 1.00 (95% CI: 0.92, 1.09) for BC, and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.06) for O3. Among infected participants, exposure to NO2 and PM2.5 were positively associated with IgG levels for all viral target antigens. Among all participants, 481 (5.0%) had COVID-19 disease. Air pollution levels were associated with COVID-19 disease: adjusted RRs=1.14 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.29) for NO2 and 1.17 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.32) for PM2.5. Exposure to O3 was associated with a slightly decreased risk (RR=0.92; 95% CI: 0.83, 1.03). Associations of air pollution with COVID-19 disease were more pronounced for severe COVID-19, with RRs=1.26 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.79) for NO2 and 1.51 (95% CI: 1.06, 2.16) for PM2.5. DISCUSSION: Exposure to air pollution was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 disease and level of antibody response among infected but not with SARS-CoV-2 infection. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP9726.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Air Pollutants/adverse effects , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , Antibody Formation , Cohort Studies , Environmental Exposure/analysis , Humans , Middle Aged , Nitrogen Dioxide/analysis , Particulate Matter/adverse effects , Particulate Matter/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Spain/epidemiology
5.
Environ Int ; 157: 106850, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415386

ABSTRACT

Cities are centres of innovation and wealth creation, but also hotspots of air pollution and noise, heat island effects and lack of green space, which are all detrimental to human health. They are also hotspots of COVID19. COVID19 has led to a rethink of urban public space. Therefore, is it time to re-think our urban models and reduce the health burden? We provide a narrative meta-review around a number of cutting edge and visionary urban models that that may affect health and that have been reported over the past few years. New urban concepts such as the Superblocks, the low traffic neighbourhood, 15 Minute city, Car free city or a mixture of these that may go some way in reducing the health burden related to current urban and transport practices. They will reduce air pollution and noise, heat island effects and increase green space and physical activity levels. What is still lacking though is a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of the schemes and the impacts on not only health, but also liveability and sustainability, although they are expected to be positive. Finally, the COVID19 pandemic may accelerate these developments and stimulus funding like the EU Next Generation funding should be used to make these changes.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Air Pollution/prevention & control , Cities , City Planning , Exercise , Hot Temperature , Humans , Noise , Parks, Recreational , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Int J Epidemiol ; 51(1): 99-110, 2022 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1246711

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Urban greening may reduce loneliness by offering opportunities for solace, social reconnection and supporting processes such as stress relief. We (i) assessed associations between residential green space and cumulative incidence of, and relief from, loneliness over 4 years; and (ii) explored contingencies by age, sex, disability and cohabitation status. METHODS: Multilevel logistic regressions of change in loneliness status in 8049 city-dwellers between 2013 (baseline) and 2017 (follow-up) in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia study. Associations with objectively measured discrete green-space buffers (e.g. parks) (<400, <800 and <1600 m) were adjusted for age, sex, disability, cohabitation status, children and socio-economic variables. Results were translated into absolute risk reductions in loneliness per 10% increase in urban greening. RESULTS: The absolute risk of loneliness rose from 15.9% to 16.9% over the 4 years; however, a 10% increase in urban greening within 1.6 km was associated with lower cumulative incident loneliness [odds ratio (OR) = 0.927, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.862 to 0.996; absolute risk reduction = 0.66%]. Stronger association was observed for people living alone (OR = 0.828, 95% CI = 0.725 to 0.944). In comparison to people with <10% green space, the ORs for cumulative incident loneliness were 0.833 (95% CI = 0.695 to 0.997), 0.790 (95% CI = 0.624 to 1.000) and 0.736 (95% CI = 0.549 to 0.986) for 10-20%, 20-30% and >30% green space, respectively. Compared with the <10% green-space reference group with 13.78% incident loneliness over 4 years and conservatively assuming no impact on incident loneliness, associations translated into absolute risk reductions of 1.70%, 2.26% and 2.72% within populations with 10-20%, 20-30% and >30% green space, respectively. These associations were stronger again for people living alone, with 10-20% (OR = 0.608, 95% CI = 0.448 to 0.826), 20-30% (OR = 0.649, 95% CI = 0.436 to 0.966) and >30% (OR = 0.480, 95% CI = 0.278 to 0.829) green space within 1600 m. No age, sex or disability-related contingencies, associations with green space within 400 or 800 m or relief from loneliness reported at baseline were observed. CONCLUSIONS: A lower cumulative incidence of loneliness was observed among people with more green space within 1600 m of home, especially for people living alone. Potential biopsychosocial mechanisms warrant investigation.


Subject(s)
Loneliness , Parks, Recreational , Child , Cohort Studies , Humans , Incidence , Longitudinal Studies
7.
Global Environmental Change ; 67:102224, 2021.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1056637

ABSTRACT

Active travel (walking or cycling for transport) is considered the most sustainable and low carbon form of getting from A to B. Yet the net effects of changes in active travel on changes in mobility-related CO2 emissions are complex and under-researched. Here we collected longitudinal data on daily travel behavior, journey purpose, as well as personal and geospatial characteristics in seven European cities and derived mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions over time and space. Statistical modelling of longitudinal panel (n = 1849) data was performed to assess how changes in active travel, the ‘main mode’ of daily travel, and cycling frequency influenced changes in mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions. We found that changes in active travel have significant lifecycle carbon emissions benefits, even in European urban contexts with already high walking and cycling shares. An increase in cycling or walking consistently and independently decreased mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions, suggesting that active travel substituted for motorized travel – i.e. the increase was not just additional (induced) travel over and above motorized travel. To illustrate this, an average person cycling 1 trip/day more and driving 1 trip/day less for 200 days a year would decrease mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions by about 0.5 tonnes over a year, representing a substantial share of average per capita CO2 emissions from transport. The largest benefits from shifts from car to active travel were for business purposes, followed by social and recreational trips, and commuting to work or place of education. Changes to commuting emissions were more pronounced for those who were younger, lived closer to work and further to a public transport station. Even if not all car trips could be substituted by active travel the potential for decreasing emissions is considerable and significant. The study gives policy and practice the empirical evidence needed to assess climate change mitigation impacts of urban transport measures and interventions aimed at mode shift to more sustainable modes of transport. Investing in and promoting active travel whilst ‘demoting’ private car ownership and use should be a cornerstone of strategies to meet ‘net zero’ carbon targets, particularly in urban areas, while also reducing inequalities and improving public health and quality of urban life in a post-COVID-19 world.

8.
Environ Health Perspect ; 128(11): 115001, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054874

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Modeling suggests that climate change mitigation actions can have substantial human health benefits that accrue quickly and locally. Documenting the benefits can help drive more ambitious and health-protective climate change mitigation actions; however, documenting the adverse health effects can help to avoid them. Estimating the health effects of mitigation (HEM) actions can help policy makers prioritize investments based not only on mitigation potential but also on expected health benefits. To date, however, the wide range of incompatible approaches taken to developing and reporting HEM estimates has limited their comparability and usefulness to policymakers. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort was to generate guidance for modeling studies on scoping, estimating, and reporting population health effects from climate change mitigation actions. METHODS: An expert panel of HEM researchers was recruited to participate in developing guidance for conducting HEM studies. The primary literature and a synthesis of HEM studies were provided to the panel. Panel members then participated in a modified Delphi exercise to identify areas of consensus regarding HEM estimation. Finally, the panel met to review and discuss consensus findings, resolve remaining differences, and generate guidance regarding conducting HEM studies. RESULTS: The panel generated a checklist of recommendations regarding stakeholder engagement: HEM modeling, including model structure, scope and scale, demographics, time horizons, counterfactuals, health response functions, and metrics; parameterization and reporting; approaches to uncertainty and sensitivity analysis; accounting for policy uptake; and discounting. DISCUSSION: This checklist provides guidance for conducting and reporting HEM estimates to make them more comparable and useful for policymakers. Harmonization of HEM estimates has the potential to lead to advances in and improved synthesis of policy-relevant research that can inform evidence-based decision making and practice. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP6745.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Climate Change , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiologic Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Cities Health ; 2020.
Article in English | WHO COVID, ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-692094

ABSTRACT

Restrictions on the use of public space and physical distancing have been key policy measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and protect public health. At the time of writing, one half of the world’s population has been asked to stay home and avoid many public places. What will be the long term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on public space once the restrictions have been lifted? The depth and extent of transformation is unclear, especially as it relates to the future design, use and perceptions of public space. This article aims to highlight emerging questions at the interface of COVID-19 and city design. It is possible that the COVID-19 crisis may fundamentally change our relationship with public space. In the ensuing months and years, it will be critical to study and measure these changes in order to inform urban planning and design in a post-COVID world.

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