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Title: County-level exposures to greenness and associations with COVID-19 incidence and mortality in the United States.

Authors: Klompmaker, Jochem O; Hart, Jaime E; Holland, Isabel; Sabath, M Benjamin; Wu, Xiao; Laden, Francine; Dominici, Francesca; James, Peter

Published In medRxiv, (2020 Nov 16)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has killed more than 246,000 people in the US. During a time of social distancing measures and increasing social isolation, green spaces may be a crucial factor to maintain a physically and socially active lifestyle while not increasing risk of infection. OBJECTIVES: We evaluated whether greenness is related to COVID-19 incidence and mortality in the United States. METHODS: We downloaded data on COVID-19 cases and deaths for each US county up through June 7, 2020, from Johns Hopkins University, Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center. We used April-May 2020 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data, to represent the greenness exposure during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the US. We fitted negative binomial mixed models to evaluate associations of NDVI with COVID-19 incidence and mortality, adjusting for potential confounders such as county-level demographics, epidemic stage, and other environmental factors. We evaluated whether the associations were modified by population density, proportion of Black residents, median home value, and issuance of stay-at-home order. RESULTS: An increase of 0.1 in NDVI was associated with a 6% (95% Confidence Interval: 3%, 10%) decrease in COVID-19 incidence rate after adjustment for potential confounders. Associations with COVID-19 incidence were stronger in counties with high population density and in counties with stay-at-home orders. Greenness was not associated with COVID-19 mortality in all counties; however, it was protective in counties with higher population density. Discussion: Exposures to NDVI had beneficial impacts on county-level incidence of COVID-19 in the US and may have reduced county-level COVID-19 mortality rates, especially in densely populated counties.

PubMed ID: 32908990 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

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