Mobility restrictions and air quality under COVID-19 pandemic in São Paulo, Brazil

Edmilson D. Freitas, Sergio A. Ibarra-Espinosa , Mario E. Gavidia-Calderón , Amanda Rehbein , Sameh A. Abou Rafee , Jorge A. Martins , Leila D. Martins , Ubiratan P. Santos , Mariangeli F. Ning , Maria F. Andrade , Ricardo I. F. Trindade

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Received Date: 25th April 20

Social distancing policies put in place during COVID-19 epidemic in addition to helping to limit the spread of the disease also contributed to improving urban air quality. Here we show a decrease in air pollutant concentration as a consequence of mobility reduction in São Paulo during the containment measure which began on 22nd March 2020. When comparing to foregoing weeks to equivalent periods of 2019, the concentration of most air pollutants sharply decreased in the first days of mobility restriction, to then increase again after government officials downplayed the threat of the disease. This trend is also followed by a decrease in hospital admissions by SARS-influenza. Therefore, despite the great economic and social unrest caused by the pandemic, this unique situation shows that large-scale mobility reduction policy had a significant impact on air quality, benefiting, directly and indirectly, the public health system.

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