In this pandemic situation where we all are concerned about the COVID-19 spread, studies say that air pollution is a major cause for COVID-19 severity. Let’s have an in-depth discussion about how air pollution and COVID-19 are related.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge say how an area in England has an association with COVID-19 and high levels of air pollution. The major symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing problems, common cold, etc. Mostly in the beginning stages of infection, people tend to develop only mild illness, and around a quarter of the patients admitted in the hospital were treated for respiratory complications.
It can be hard to deal with illnesses such as diabetes and COVID-19 together. Therefore, since the beginning of COVID-19, many doctors and studies have suggested that people over the age of 60 with other illnesses such as diabetes, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular diseases are more likely to be affected by the disease.
Many studies have now revealed that exposure to areas with air-pollutants like nitrogen oxide and fumes from burning fossil fuels are considered major causes of air pollution. These pollutants might also increase the risk of conditions that are related to respiratory illness. In the University of Cambridge, during a new study at the MRC Toxicology Unit, it has been reported that there is an association between such pollutants and COVID-19 infection in England.
During this study, the team analyzed the data of the total reported COVID-19 cases and the death count against the levels of the air pollutants with the data that has been collected between 2018 and 2019 when there was no existence of COVID-19. They used the data from a total of seven regions in England. In these regions, only a minimum of 2,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections and around 200 deaths were reported from February to April 2020.
What does the study reveal about the major cause for COVID-19 severity? In this study, it has been found that in places where the level of air pollution is high, there tends to be an increased death rate of COVID-19 cases. In England, across London and the Midlands is where the largest number of COVID-19 cases are reported. In the previous studies, it was found that these two major regions have the largest annual average of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide. Later, the two results of these studies were correlated. The higher the pollutant levels, the greater the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths reported. In the southern regions where low levels of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide were reported, the number of death cases because of COVID-19 also follows a similar trend.
A student named Marco Travaglio mentioned that this is the first evidence to prove that Sars CoV-2 virus fatality is associated with the levels of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide in England. These pollutants were considered the major cause of COVID-19 severity.
A senior author, Dr. Miguel Martins also added that this study has been evidence from North Italy and the USA that the levels of pollutants are linked to increased cases of COVID-19. He also mentioned that this was noted during the previous outbreak in 2003.
Researchers say that this study is additional evidence and further research would be needed to understand the exact relationship between the levels of pollutants and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
This study suggests that we should consider the importance of reducing air pollution for protecting human health as well as our environment.