Air Quality and Health Workshop - March 3, 2021

Our 18th Air Quality and Health (Virtual) Workshop will focus on the air quality and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Register online today HERE!

People infected with COVID-19 experience a range in symptoms and severity of illness. In severe cases, infection can lead to hospitalization and death. Previous work provides evidence to suggest that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections and pneumonia.

Early in 2020, the coronavirus began spreading rapidly across the world and the health care systems in many jurisdictions were becoming overwhelmed. In response, many countries attempted to control transmission of the virus with various strategies to limit contact between people, including lockdowns, travel restrictions, business closures, and recommendations for people to stay home.

Researchers world-wide have taken advantage of this phenomenon to study the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on air quality. At the same time, there have also been efforts to evaluate the effect of air pollution on COVID-19 transmission and illness severity.

The 2021 BC Lung Air Quality and Health Workshop will explore the latest research on the relationship between air quality and COVID-19, including:

  • How COVID-10 restrictions have impacted air quality across the globe
  • The mechanisms, biology and epidemiology of respiratory infections, particularly in the context of COVID-19 infections,
  • The impact of poor air quality on COVID-19 transmission and illness severity, and
  • The implications of current research on public policy and interventions

Workshop Topics and Presenters: 


9:00am to 9:30am: The effect of decreased traffic on air quality in Canada and across the globe, Kristin Aunan, Center for International Climate Research, Norway

9:30am to 10:00am: Epidemiology and respiratory infection, David Rich, University of Rochester Medical Center

10:00am to 10:30am: Mechanisms/biology of respiratory infection, Lisa Miyashita, Queen Mary University of London

10:30am to 11:00am: Caton/Bates Scholarship presentation and networking break


11:00 to 11:30am: Exposure to air pollution and COVID incidence/outcomes, Eric Lavigne, Health Canada

11:30 to 12:00pm: Method considerations for studying an association between air pollution and COVID, Paul Villeneuve, Carleton University

12:00 to 12:30pm: Policies and interventions for COVID, air quality and health, Shelly Miller, University of Colorado, Boulder

13:00-13:10pm: Closing remarks and evaluation                                              

Questions? Contact Dr. Menn Biagtan at or Matthew Wong at



Organized annually, the workshop brings together air quality and environmental health experts and policymakers to share new insights regarding priority public health issues. 




Page Last Updated: 10/02/2021