Research Topic

COVID-19: Mitigation Strategies and Their Implications for the Global Environment

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About this Research Topic

The outbreak of COVID-19 has become the most significant global public health emergency to human society in the 21st century. Until now, there has been a lack of effective antiviral medication and vaccines against COVID-19. Various mitigation strategies have been taken to slow down the rapid spread ...

The outbreak of COVID-19 has become the most significant global public health emergency to human society in the 21st century. Until now, there has been a lack of effective antiviral medication and vaccines against COVID-19. Various mitigation strategies have been taken to slow down the rapid spread of COVID-19, such as complete or partial lockdown, travel bans, mass gathering restrictions, home quarantines within communities, social distancing measures, personal protective actions, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). These intervention and prevention measures have not only sharply reduced global economic activity, but also have greatly changed patterns of human behavior. Thus, the environmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic can help us to better understand the interplay between human and nature, and has drawn great attention from the academic community and from policy makers. Moreover, a thorough understanding on the environmental consequences of mitigation strategies in communities would assist in preventing and controlling an emerging public health emergency in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for public health, the economy, the environment, and human society. Mitigation measures against COVID-19 have resulted in contaminated aquatic environments owing to the sewage carrying coronaviruses, disinfectants, and antiviral medicines. The sharp increase in the amount of medical and hazardous waste such as masks also threatens local ecosystems during the pandemic. On the other hand, environmental pollution across the world has been greatly mitigated after the outbreak of COVID-19 due to the implementation of lockdown, travel bans, and stay-at-home advice, which has had a positive impact on the global environment despite the economic and social disruptions caused. Based on current knowledge on COVID-19, a second wave of the disease could be highly possible, especially when our society is gradually getting back to normal after the primary attempt to gain control of COVID-19.

Nonetheless, the consequence of the long-term battle against COVID has barely been elaborated. Currently, there are many relevant questions that remain unanswered due to the limited understanding of the interactions between COVID-19 and the global environment, such as the role of environmental change on disease transmission, the impact of human activity and lifestyle change on the environment, and environmental concerns during a long-term battle against COVID-19. Since great research efforts on these topics are ongoing across the world, it is critically important to summarize the experience and lesson learned from the current situation in order to highlight new information and perspectives on the usefulness and feasibility of the emerging approaches that help to cope with emerging public health emergencies in the future.

This Research Topic aims to highlight interdisciplinary research achievements on both the positive and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global environment, addressing current knowledge gaps of the environmental response to COVID-19. We would like to welcome researchers from multiple disciplines to submit Perspective, Review, and Original Research articles on, but not limited to, the following topics:

• The environmental issues induced by COVID-19, and assessment of the secondary environmental risk and their corresponding prevention measures
• Early warning forecast and epidemic surveillance systems based on environmental factors for emerging public health emergencies
• The relationship between globalization, urbanization, contagion, and the environment
• Positive and negative impacts of human behavioral changes on the environment after the outbreak of COVID-19
• Urban planning and land use under the context of COVID-19
• The short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and environmental policy
• Sustainability and environmental economics under the implementation of NPIs against COVID-19 in both developed and developing countries


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