World News – US – New study links air pollution to 15% of COVID-19 deaths


Long-term exposure to air pollution could be linked to 15% of COVID-19 deaths worldwide, new study finds

Published in the journal Cardiovascular Research on Tuesday, research from German and Cypriot experts analyzed health and disease data from the United States and China relating to air pollution, COVID-19 and SARS – a respiratory illness similar to the novel coronavirus disease

The authors combined this with satellite data on global particulate matter exposure – microscopic particles – as well as ground pollution monitoring networks, to calculate how much air pollution could be responsible for deaths from COVID-19

In East Asia, which has some of the highest harmful pollution levels on the planet, the authors found that 27% of deaths from COVID-19 could be attributed to the health effects of a poor air quality

The authors said deaths from COVID-19 and air pollution represented « potentially preventable excess mortality » and that exposure to airborne particles likely worsened « co-morbidities that lead to fatal outcomes ”from infection with SARS CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19

« If long-term exposure to air pollution and infection with the COVID-19 virus combine, we have an adverse effect on health, especially with regard to the heart and blood vessels, ”said article co-author Thomas Munzel

He said air pollution made risk factors for COVID-19 such as lung and heart problems more likely. Specifically, the team noted that the particles appeared to increase the activity of a receptor on lung cell surfaces, ACE-2, which is known to be involved in how COVID-19 infects patients

« So we have a double whammy: Air pollution damages the lungs and increases ACE-2 activity, which in turn leads to better uptake of the virus, » Munzel said , professor at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

The authors pointed out that attributing the deaths from COVID-19 to air pollution did not mean that the pollution itself was killing people with the disease, although they did not rule out such a cause and effect link

Jos Lelieveld, of the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, told AFP news agency that research suggested that « pollution particles are a co-factor in worsening disease »

He said their estimates suggested that over 6,100 coronavirus deaths in the UK could be attributed to air pollution In the US, that figure is around 40,000

More than 11 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

The authors said that without a fundamental change in the way cities are self-sustaining, including a shift to clean and renewable sources of energy, air pollution will continue to kill many people even after the pandemic has ended

« The pandemic ends with the vaccination of the population or with the immunity of the herd by widespread infection of the population », they wrote

« However, there are no vaccines against poor air quality and climate change The cure is to reduce emissions »

Air pollution, coronavirus, Earth’s atmosphere, air quality index, Delhi, India

News from the world – United States – New study establishes a link between air pollution and 15% of deaths from COVID-19



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