COVID-19 AND AIR QUALITY IN CANADA
Indoor and outdoor air quality can play important roles in the spread and impacts of COVID-19. Moreover, the shutdowns imposed in response to the pandemic provide an unprecedented opportunity to better understand how different sources of emissions influence air quality in Canada. In this one-year project we will assess how outdoor air quality in Canadian cities changed pre-, during- and post-shutdown, to reveal the relative roles of sources such as traffic and industry. We will also evaluate the efficacy of using CO2 as a measure of exhaled breath in indoor spaces that reflects the potential for infection. The project will produce new knowledge that our government partners can mobilize in support of air quality policy development. It will also produce a new methodology to guide room occupancy and ventilation as social restrictions are phased in and out, that may yield a new technology that our industrial partners can commercialize. Overall, this new knowledge will help Canada through the period of transition between loosening of restrictions and widespread vaccination. Moreover, improved knowledge of air quality sources can guide stimulus investment during the economic recovery in order enable long term wins for the economy, health, and environment, through improved air quality and greater resilience against future pandemics.