Air Quality and COVID-19 in Metro Vancouver

Air Quality and COVID-19 in Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver has received information from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) about potential linkages between air quality and susceptibility to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function, and the BCCDC recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province.

  • Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall,
  • Deterioration in air quality may lead to more cases of severe COVID-19 infections, adding further demand to our healthcare system, and
  • Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects.

Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularly vehicle emissions and biomass burning.

While the BCCDC confirms that the focus should remain on physical distancing to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the number of cases, keeping our air as clean as possible will also help to protect the population during this difficult period.

Air quality in our region is generally good, however, during this challenging time, Metro Vancouver has implemented additional measures regarding open burning to keep our air quality as clean as possible and encourages all residents to do their part to reduce emissions such as reducing fireplace use and driving less.

Metro Vancouver’s air monitoring network is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Real-time data from the monitoring network is available on the Metro Vancouver website at