The world economy and healthcare system have been hit hard by COVID-19 (coronavirus), and the global death toll surpasses 150,000. A new study released by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found the correlation between air pollution and higher rates of death from COVID-19.

The analysis result is worrying as the scientists have figured out even a small unit (1 μg/m3) increase in particulate matter PM2.5 can lead to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate of 15%. The data was collected for approximately 3,000 counties in the United States (98% of the population) up to 4 April this year.

Full detail of the study and data analysis are publicly available here: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/covid-pm

 

Dirty air is linked to Coronavirus fatality

It is well-known that long term exposure to a high level of air pollution causes many health problems, such as respiratory illness, heart diseases and reduction in intelligence. PM2.5 is also classified as carcinogenic to humans (group 1) by the World Health Organization. The higher concentration of air pollutants is also associated with higher hospital admissions, premature deaths and economic losses.

Poor air quality makes our bodies less healthy. It may also weaken our lungs, hearts and defence systems. People with poor health conditions may be more likely to have severe symptoms of COVID-19 as their lungs are already compromised.

 

Time to Reflect

Sadly, some experts predict the coronavirus will become a seasonal virus and go endemic for a long time. It means the fight against COVID-19 would be a long-term worldwide challenge. If the government is failed to act decisively on air pollution control and public health management, the respiratory illness COVID-19 could be an extra burden on our already overloaded healthcare system.

This study took account of a range of factors, including poverty levels, smoking, obesity, and the number of COVID-19 tests and hospital beds available. In conclusion, it suggests people in areas with poor air quality are far more likely to die from the coronavirus than those living in cleaner areas.

 

Link to the Study:
https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/covid-pm

 

Photo/ Cheuk Lun

Story posted on
24th Apr, 2020

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