Green spaces, especially nearby forest, may reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate : A nationwide study in the United States

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

13 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Bin Jiang
  • Yuwen Yang
  • Xueming Liu
  • Bin Chen
  • Chris Webster
  • William C. Sullivan
  • Linda Larsen

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number104583
Journal / PublicationLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume228
Online published20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Abstract

The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing global crisis that has profoundly harmed public health. Although studies found exposure to green spaces can provide multiple health benefits, the relationship between exposure to green spaces and the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate is unclear. This is a critical knowledge gap for research and practice. In this study, we examined the relationship between total green space, seven types of green space, and a year of SARS-CoV-2 infection data across 3,108 counties in the contiguous United States, after controlling for spatial autocorrelation and multiple types of covariates. First, we examined the association between total green space and SARS-CoV-2 infection rate. Next, we examined the association between different types of green space and SARS-CoV-2 infection rate. Then, we examined forest–infection rate association across five time periods and five urbanicity levels. Lastly, we examined the association between infection rate and population-weighted exposure to forest at varying buffer distances (100 m to 4 km). We found that total green space was negative associated with the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate. Furthermore, two forest variables (forest outside park and forest inside park) had the strongest negative association with the infection rate, while open space variables had mixed associations with the infection rate. Forest outside park was more effective than forest inside park. The optimal buffer distances associated with lowest infection rate are within 1,200 m for forest outside park and within 600 m for forest inside park. Altogether, the findings suggest that green spaces, especially nearby forest, may significantly mitigate risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Research Area(s)

  • Causal mechanisms, COVID-19 pandemic, Forest, Green spaces, Infection risk, Open space

Citation Format(s)

Green spaces, especially nearby forest, may reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate: A nationwide study in the United States. / Jiang, Bin; Yang, Yuwen; Chen, Long et al.
In: Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 228, 104583, 12.2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review