NEW YORK: Researchers from the United States of America (USA) have found that long-term exposure to air pollution in cities can make the novel coronavirus more lethal. The study, published in The Innovation Journal, has examined key urban pollutants like Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Ozone (O3), across 3,122 counties in USA.
Donghlai Liang, Study Author, Emory University, USA, has said that long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution aides direct and indirect impact on the human body. It enhances oxidative stress, acute inflammation and respiratory infection risk. To establish the link between COVID-19 and air pollution, the researchers examined two major death outcomes (case-fatality rate and mortality rate).
Scientists found that NO2, among all the pollutants, has the strongest independent connection with death of a person from COVID-19. According to study, 4.6 parts per billion (ppb) increase of NO2 in the air can lead to around 11.3 per cent and 16.2 per cent increase in case-fatality rate and mortality rate, respectively. Researchers also observed some relation of PM2.5 with case-fatality rate of COVID-19. However, no significant result was found on exposure to O3.
The authors wrote in the study that continuation of efforts to curb pollution levels and lower traffic emissions can help to improve the population-level risk of COVID-19 case-fatality rate and mortality rate in USA.