Potential role of Particulate Matter

in the Spreading of COVID-19 in Northern Italy:

first observational study based on initial epidemic diffusion

Massimo Borelli, borelli@units.it


The 24 September 2020 BMJ Open paper:




The 08 April 2020 rapid response



Dataset and reproducible data analysis

We studied the particulate.csv dataset, which contains 110 observations of 15 variables:

  • idStudy, counter ranging from 1 to 110
  • idIstat, an integer adopted from Italian National Institute of Statistics
  • Province, the name of italian cities/provinces
  • itCode, a two character province identifier (primary key)
  • Exceedancees, the integer number (absolute frequency) of PM10 concentrations above the daily limit value
  • StationsNum, the integer number of the air quality monitoring stations within each province
  • Cases, the integer number of infections at sevententh day
  • Population, the total residents of the province
  • Density, the population over the surface, times 1000 and rounded
  • Long, the longitude of the city center
  • Lat, the latitude of the city center
  • Where, a factor with two levels (north, south) according to the lines joining the towns of Ormea, Fraconalto and San Marino
  • Commuters, the integer number of people moving to go to work according the Italian National Institute of Statistics
  • CommutersDensity, the Commuters number divided by the Population, times 100 and rounded
  • ExcedRatio25, the relative frequency of PM2.5 concentrations above the daily limit value

You can exploit the R language and its party package to reproduce the data analysis following this code.