Pollution Makes the Pandemic Worse

As we head into the winter inversion season, we point to yet another study that shows how pollution makes the pandemic worse. A new study estimates that air pollution is responsible for about 15% of COVID deaths world wide, and 17% of those deaths in North America. The researchers described the connection this way.

Study estimates exposure to air pollution increases COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide
27 Oct 2020

Topic(s):Environmental and Occupational Aspects of Heart Disease

Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 and, for the first time, a study has estimated the proportion of deaths from the coronavirus that could be attributed to the exacerbating effects of air pollution for every country in the world.

The study, published in Cardiovascular Research [1] today (Tuesday), estimated that about 15% of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. In Europe the proportion was about 19%, in North America it was 17%, and in East Asia about 27%.

In their CVR paper, the researchers write that these proportions are an estimate of “the fraction of COVID-19 deaths that could be avoided if the population were exposed to lower counterfactual air pollution levels without fossil fuel-related and other anthropogenic [caused by humans] emissions”.