Air pollution linked to more severe COVID-19

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from the University of California San Diego found that some common air pollutants, such as ground-level ozone, are associated with more severe outcomes after SARS-CoV-2 infection, including admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).

The research is published in Canadian Medical Association Journal and was conducted by Dr. Hong Chen et al.

In the study, the team aimed to see whether there was a link between long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 severity.

They analyzed data on all 151 105 people aged 20 years and older with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020 in Ontario, Canada.

They modeled historical exposure to three common air pollutants before the pandemic—fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ground-level ozone (O3).

The researchers found that people with COVID-19 infection who lived in areas of Ontario with higher levels of common air pollutants (PM2.5, NO2, and O3) were at a higher risk of being admitted to the ICU.

They also found a higher risk of hospitalization with chronic exposure to PM2.5 and O3, and an increased risk of death from COVID-19 with chronic exposure to O3.

These results add to the growing reports linking air pollution to COVID-19 severity from other countries, including Spain and Mexico.

Given the ongoing pandemic, these findings that underscore the link between chronic exposure to air pollution and more severe COVID-19 could have important implications for public health and health systems.

As to the mechanisms of how long-term exposure to air pollution may be influencing the severity of COVID-19, the researchers call for more research.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new treatment option for COVID-19, and bark of neem tree may protect against COVID-19 variants.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about how finger length helps predict severe COVID-19, and results showing COVID-19 mixed with flu can raise risks of death and severe illness.

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