What explains cross-city #variation in #mortality during the 1918 #influenza #pandemic? Evidence from 438 #US cities (Econ Hum Biol., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Econ Hum Biol. 2019 Apr 29;35:42-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.03.010. [Epub ahead of print]

What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities.

Clay K1, Lewis J2, Severnini E3.

Author information: 1 Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, 4800 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, United States. 2 Department of Economics, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128 succ. Centre-ville, Montreal, QC, H3C 3J7, United States. 3 Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, 4800 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, United States. Electronic address: edsons@andrew.cmu.edu.

 

Abstract

Disparities in cross-city pandemic severity during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic remain poorly understood. This paper uses newly assembled historical data on annual mortality across 438 U.S. cities to explore the determinants of pandemic mortality. We assess the role of three broad factors: i) pre-pandemic population health and poverty, ii) air pollution, and iii) the timing of onset and proximity to military bases. Using regression analysis, we find that cities in the top tercile of the distribution of pre-pandemic infant mortality had 21 excess deaths per 10,000 residents in 1918 relative to cities in the bottom tercile. Similarly, cities in the top tercile of the distribution of proportion of illiterate residents had 21.3 excess deaths per 10,000 residents during the pandemic relative to cities in the bottom tercile. Cities in the top tercile of the distribution of coal-fired electricity generating capacity, an important source of urban air pollution, had 9.1 excess deaths per 10,000 residents in 1918 relative to cities in the bottom tercile. There was no statistically significant relationship between excess mortality and city proximity to World War I bases or the timing of onset. In a counterfactual analysis, the three statistically significant factors accounted for 50 percent of cross-city variation in excess mortality in 1918.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Air pollution; Influenza; Mortality; Pandemic

PMID: 31071595 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.03.010

Keywords: Pandemic Influenza; Spanish Flu; USA; Society; Poverty; Environmental pollution.

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Published by

Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.

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