Impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on mobility and air pollution in the United Kingdom.

Acosta-Ramírez, C and Higham, JE
(2022) Impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on mobility and air pollution in the United Kingdom. The Science of the total environment, 851 (Pt 2). 158279 - ?.

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During the two years following the first case of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, cycles of social restrictions were imposed to control the spread of the virus. These measures curtailed social contact and halted commercial and recreational activities affecting levels of air pollutants. As society adapted, restrictions eased and pollution gradually returned to baseline levels. However, resurgence in COVID-19 cases from new variants created a protracted and challenging path back to 'normality'. In this study, we retrospectively look back at the two years of COVID-19 and its prevalent variants, and examine the government response and its impact on mobility and air pollution. Results from a peak detection algorithm show peak events in mobility and COVID-19 deaths during variants periods decreased significantly from the wildtype COVID-19, despite the high contagiousness of these variants. Pollution levels remained below baseline with periods of significant increase for O<sub>3</sub>, while NO<sub>2</sub> levels remained depleted, likely as a result of reduced traffic congestion as home office schemes have been maintained. Our findings suggest mobility and pollution return to baseline levels as immunity to COVID-19 increases.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2022 09:27
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 06:11
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158279