Rethinking air quality and climate change after COVID-19

Ping Pui CHING, Mizuo KAJINO

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58 Citations (Scopus)


The world is currently shadowed by the pandemic of COVID-19. Confirmed cases and the death toll has reached more than 12 million and more than 550,000 respectively as of 10 July 2020. In the unsettling pandemic of COVID-19, the whole Earth has been on an unprecedented lockdown. Social distancing among people, interrupted international and domestic air traffic and suspended industrial productions and economic activities have various far-reaching and undetermined implications on air quality and the climate system. Improvement in air quality has been reported in many cities during lockdown, while the death rate of COVID-19 has been found to be higher in more polluted cities. The relationship between the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and air quality is under investigation. In addition, the battle against COVID-19 could bring short-lived and long-lasting and positive and negative impacts to the warming climate. The impacts on the climate system and the role of the climate in modulating the COVID-19 pandemic are the foci of scientific inquiry. The intertwined relationship among environment, climate change and public health is exemplified in the pandemic of COVID-19. Further investigation of the relationship is imperative in the Anthropocene, in particular, in enhancing disaster preparedness. This short article intends to give an up-to-date glimpse of the pandemic from air quality and climate perspectives and calls for a follow-up discussion. Copyright © 2020 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5167
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


Ching, J., & Kajino, M. (2020). Rethinking air quality and climate change after COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), Article 5167.


  • COVID-19
  • Airborne transmission
  • Climate change
  • Air quality
  • Environmental public health
  • The Anthropocene


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