Predictive Role of Population Density and Use of Public Transport for Major Outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the Italian Population: An Ecological Study

Alfonso Ilardi, Sergio Chieffi, Ciro Rosario Ilardi

Abstract


Background: This study aimed at assessing how population density (PD), aging index (AI), use of public transport (URPT), and PM10 concentration (PI) modulated the trajectory of the main COVID-19 pandemic outcomes in Italy, also in the recrudescence phase of the epidemic.

Study design: Ecological study.

Methods: For each region, we recovered data about cases, deaths, and case fatality rate (CFR) recorded since both the beginning of the epidemic and September 1, 2020. Data about total hospitalizations were included as well.

Results: PD correlated with, and was the best predictor of, total and partial cases, total and partial deaths, and total hospitalizations. Moreover, URPT correlated with, and was the best predictor of, total CFR. Besides, PI correlated significantly with total and partial cases, total and partial deaths, and total hospitalizations.

Conclusions: PD explains COVID-19 morbidity, mortality, and severity while URPT is the best predictor of disease lethality. These findings should be interpreted with caution due to the ecological fallacy.

 


Keywords


Air Pollution; COVID-19; Ecological Study; Population Density; Public Transport

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