The strong correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 could be explained by the negative impact on the immune system. This was demonstrated for other diseases, and this is likely the case for COVID-19, too. The effect held not just for pollution levels at the time of the outbreak, but for levels over the previous years as well, indicating prior exposure had likely compromised people’s ability to fight off the illness.
The study demonstrated a positive association between air pollution and SARS case fatality in Chinese population by utilizing publicly accessible data on SARS statistics and air pollution indices. Although ecologic fallacy and uncontrolled confounding effects might have biased the results, the possibility of a detrimental effect of air pollution on the prognosis of SARS patients deserves further investigation.
Coronavirus patients in areas with high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are far more likely to die from the infection than patients in parts of the country where the air is cleaner according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates.
Published on April 6 in Environmental Pollution, the paper suggests they may have suffered a number of complications because their bodies were already been weakened by their long-term exposure to toxic air.
The findings support recent medical evidence on the link between air pollution and influenza infection, and suggest that poor air quality was an important cause of mortality during the pandemic.
“People who are living in places with more air pollution may be more likely to get infected with this in the first place, and if they do get infected they’re more likely to die,” Bernstein said. “There will be research looking at COVID and air quality to better understand the relationship, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t show that air pollution was a problem.