Short-term exposure to air pollution increases Covid-19 risk
Short-term exposure to air pollution increases Covid-19 risk

Short-term exposure to air pollution increases Covid-19 risk

Short-term exposure to common air pollutants can increase the odds of Covid-19 infection in young adults, researchers found in what is considered a first of its kind study of the age group now considered primarily responsible for the spread of respiratory disease.

That examinationrecently published online in Journal of the American Medical Associationlooked at 425 students and others in their mid-20s within an existing cohort that tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Despite “relatively low levels of exposure to air pollution”, Swedish researchers linked higher daily levels of airborne particles and black carbon to an increased risk of infection in the range of 6 to 7 percent. Although no such association was found for exposure to another class of pollutants known as nitrogen oxides, the results support “the broad public health benefits of reducing the level of air pollution,” write the authors working at the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institutet and others. organizations in Sweden and Italy.

Since first appearing in late 2019 and then spreading worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 6.2 million lives globally, with nearly one million of those deaths in the United States, according to data from the World Health Organization and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The link between air pollution and susceptibility to respiratory diseases such as asthma and influenza is already well established. Therefore, the possible link with coronavirus vulnerability has gained close scientific and media attention; it was a factor mentioned in EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s decision almost a year ago to launch a new review of the Agency’s air quality standards for soot and other types of particulate matter (Green threadJune 11, 2021).

In general, however, the more published studies have examined the potential link between prolonged exposure to air pollution and Covid-19 deaths across populations that can number in the tens of thousands or millions of people (Green thread13 August 2020).

While the disease is far more likely to kill older people or those with pre-existing health problems, young adults are now considered the “biggest spread” of the virus, the study says. “As far as we know, this is the first report on short-term exposure to air pollution at the individual level” associated with Covid-19 infection in the demographic group, the authors add.

Taking the results of other research together, the authors also speculate that higher levels of short-term air pollution play a role in producing symptoms among those infected with the virus rather than contributing to its transmission.

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