Air pollution linked to 15% of coronavirus deaths, study finds

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Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15% of Covid deaths worldwide (file)

Paris:

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15% of Covid-19 deaths globally, according to study released Tuesday that highlights health risks posed by greenhouse gas emissions .

Previous research has shown how air pollution from exhaust fumes and factories reduced the life expectancy of every man, woman and child on Earth by two years.

Now, German and Cypriot experts say they have estimated the proportion of deaths from the coronavirus that can be attributed to the exacerbating effects of air pollution.

Their study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, drew on health and disease data from the United States and China regarding air pollution, Covid-19, and SARS – a serious lung disease. similar to Covid.

They combined this with satellite data on global exposure to particulate matter – microscopic particles – as well as ground pollution monitoring networks, to calculate to what extent air pollution can be attributed to fatalities. Covid-19.

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

In Europe, the proportion was 19%, compared to 17% in North America.

“If long-term exposure to air pollution and infection with the Covid-19 virus combine then 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 blow: air pollution damages the lungs and increases the activity of ACE-2, which in turn leads to better absorption of the virus,” said Munzel, professor at the Center. university medical officer from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.

“The cure is to cut emissions”

The authors stressed that attributing the deaths linked to Covid-19 to air pollution does not mean that the pollution itself is killing people with Covid – without, however, ruling out such a causal link.

Jos Lelieveld, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, told AFP that research suggests that “pollution particles are a co-factor in the aggravation of the disease”.

He said their estimates suggested that more than 6,100 Covid deaths in Britain could be attributed to air pollution. In the United States, that figure is about 40,000 people.

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 would continue to kill large numbers of people even after the pandemic has withdrawn.

“The pandemic ends with the vaccination of the population or the immunity of the herd through 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.”

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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