The impact of stay-at-home orders on air-quality and COVID-19 mortality rate in the United States

Academic Article


  • Since the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S., most jurisdictions issued mitigation strategies, such as restricting businesses and population movements. This provided an opportunity to measure any positive implications on air quality and COVID-19 mortality rate during a time of limited social interactions. Four broad categories of stay-at-home orders (for states following the order for at least 40 days, for states with less than 40 days, for states with the advisory order, and the states with no stay-at-home order) were created to analyze change in air quality and mortality rate. Ground-based monitoring data for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) was collected during the initial country-wide lockdown period (15 March-15 June 2020). Data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths were also collected to analyze the effects of the four measures on the mortality trend. Findings show air quality improvement for the states staying under lockdown longer compared to states without a stay-at-home order. All stay-at-home order categories, except states without measures were observed a decrease in PM2.5 and the core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) within the longer mitigation states had an improvement of their air quality index (AQI).
  • Published In

  • Urban Climate  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sabrin S; Karimi M; Nazari R; Fahad MGR; Peters RW; Uddin A
  • Volume

  • 39