Pollution Making COVID Deadlier?
Constant exposure to pollution has chronic effects on the human body. Air pollution triggers many diseases such as heart attack, lung, and respiratory diseases, cancer, etc. WHO report states that 7 million premature deaths happen due to air pollution in a year. The particulate matter (PM) present in the air is responsible for deteriorating respiratory illnesses when inhaled. PM is a mixture of organic and chemical particles. Airborne particulates are likely to exacerbate the spread of the disease. Although there are no clear links of Coronaivur spreading through the air, some studies say that reducing air pollution may reduce the spread of coronavirus.
A recently published research at Harvard University says that long exposure to air pollution reduces the natural ability to fight against viruses like the SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2. According to it, 80% of deaths in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany happened in regions with high pollution. The study was primarily done by analyzing data of counties of the US. “An increase of 1 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) in PM2.5 is associated with an 8% increase in the COVID-19 death rate,” said the study.
It is also a matter of concern for India as it is home to 14 polluted cities out of the top 20 polluted cities in the world. Dr. Maria Neira of the WHO warned that countries with high pollution in Latin America, Africa, and Asia should boost their epidemic response, and governments must introduce a new set of policies to tackle this problem.
The results indicate that long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the Covid-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world.Yaron Ogen, Researcher, Martin Luther University Germany
On the other hand, Trump administration recently rolled back Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards. Under the new amendment, trump has given relaxation to emit more carbon, which many feel nullifies the key step of former USA governments to tackle the problem of climate change.