Environment and COVID-19 incidence: A critical review

Chenlu Li , Jiatong Han , Jie Yin , Xiaoxu Wu , Danyang Wang


Received October 10, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 10, 2022, Available online February 21, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 933-951

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented worldwide health crisis. Many previous research studies have found and investigated its links with one or some natural or human environmental factors. However, a review on the relationship between COVID-19 incidence and both the natural and human environment is still lacking. This review summarizes the inter-correlation between COVID-19 incidence and environmental factors. Based on keyword searching, we reviewed 100 relevant peer-reviewed articles and other research literature published since January 2020. This review is focused on three main findings. One, we found that individual environmental factors have impacts on COVID-19 incidence, but with spatial heterogeneity and uncertainty. Two, environmental factors exert interactive effects on COVID-19 incidence. In particular, the interactions of natural factors can affect COVID-19 transmission in micro- and macro- ways by impacting SARS-CoV-2 survival, as well as human mobility and behaviors. Three, the impact of COVID-19 incidence on the environment lies in the fact that COVID-19-induced lockdowns caused air quality improvement, wildlife shifts and socio-economic depression. The additional value of this review is that we recommend future research perspectives and adaptation strategies regarding the interactions of the environment and COVID-19. Future research should be extended to cover both the effects of the environment on the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19-induced impacts on the environment. Future adaptation strategies should focus on sustainable environmental and public policy responses.

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