15% of COVID-19 deaths may be linked to air pollution: Researchers

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Air Pollution
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A team of researchers based out of Germany have estimated that 15 percent of all COVID-19 deaths across the globe “could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution.”

The assessment which was published in the journal Cardiovascular Research is said to be based on the analysis conducted on air pollution and the pandemic data by researchers at the Cyprus Institute’s Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Harvard University’s public health school.

Regional media cited the authors of the study remarking that fatalities linked to both COVID-19 and air pollution can be considered as “potentially avoidable, excess mortality.”

The team opined that exposure to air pollution likely aggravates “co-morbidities (unrelated health issues already existing within the COVID-19 victims) that could lead to fatal health outcomes of the virus infection.”

“If you already have heart disease, then air pollution and coronavirus infection will cause trouble that can lead to heart attacks, heart failure and stroke,” remarked co-author Thomas Muenzel of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Researchers estimate that more than 25 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Asia could be linked to air pollution, compared to 19 percent in Europe and 17 percent in North America.

Several European countries along with America are witnessing a new surge in coronavirus infections with some countries seeing record new daily case numbers. The lower intakes to hospitals and deaths compared to the previous peak of the pandemic between March to May is the only respite for authorities who are struggling to cope with the resurgence of COVID-19 and impending winter season.