Air pollution linked to higher Covid-19 death rates

Air Pollution
Air Pollution, File Photo

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Long-term exposure to polluted air could lead to increase in death rate of people infected with deadly coronavirus, concluded a recent study which forms a clear correlation between the two factors.

The study, carried out by Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s researchers, concluded that a small increase in long-term exposure to tiny particles in air known as PM 2.5 could lead to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate.

Speaking to IANS, D.J. Christopher who is the President of Indian Chest Society said, “The report is disturbing as it appears that air pollution exposure could affect Covid-19 disease severity and death. I am deeply concerned about the cities of our nation with high pollution, especially New Delhi.”

Dr. Christopher, who is also the professor of pulmonary medicine at CMC Vellore, further said that it will be great if such studies are conducted in India.

“But we may have to wait for more reports to come. We will then be able to see if the severity and the number of cases are more in polluted cities,” he added.

To carry out the study, Researchers at Harvard University collected data from approximately 3,000 counties in the United States up to April 4, 2020.

“We found that an increase of only 1 Ig/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15 per cent increase in the COVID-19 death rate.”

The study results also underscored the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

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