Air Pollution Exposure Has Been Linked With Higher Death Rate From Coronavirus

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On this episode of the fictional series "Harvard University Publishes Another Headline-Grabbing Study," the education and research institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts hits home with a problem we have been exacerbating for more than a hundred years. To the point, air pollution on its own is bad for our health and the environment but air pollution also translates to a higher death rate from the novel coronavirus.
The Industrial Revolution took place between the eighteenth and 19th century, and the origins of the environmental movement can be traced back to this era. The Shakespeare of science fiction – H.G. Wells – famously said that the muse of history holds her nose and shuts her eyes at the advent of steam and electricity.

Air pollution is probably the most obvious type of pollution noticed during the Industrial Revolution, and in addition to heaven knows how many types of diseases, long-term exposure can lead to acute respiratory diseases. COVID-19 mostly affects the lungs because the virus is particularly attracted by type II alveolar cells.

Turning our attention back to the Harvard University’s study, data collected from 3,080 counties in the United States until April 4th reveals that “an increase of only 1 nanogram/m3 in PM 2.5 is associated with a 15-percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate.” The authors of the study also highlight that “results are statistically significant and robust to secondary and sensitivity analyses,” therefore proving the obvious.

In conclusion, even a small increase in long-term exposure to fine particulate matter can worsen a coronavirus patient’s already precarious health. The truth of the matter is, these results should serve as a warning to those people and governments who don’t take air pollution as seriously as it needs to be taken. The risks associated with PM 2.5 exposure will be there long after the coronavirus will be yesterday’s news.

You can dig deeper into the study’s findings by accessing the .pdf file below or Harvard University’s website.
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 Download: Harvard University’s PM 2.5 and coronavirus study (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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