Patients who lived in polluted air are less affected by COVID-19

The researchers concluded: the higher the air pollution, the higher the mortality rate for COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The conclusions that completed both studies are not new. A similar study was conducted after the SARS epidemic of 2003, in which scientists showed a clear link between air pollution and the mortality of infected people.

The air pollution that we breathe leads to damage and an increase in lung failure, which is the main focus of the COVID-19 attack. The lower their initial capacity (i.e. before infection), the less cells remain in them during the disease, which are able to supply oxygen to our body.

In turn, a study conducted in February revealed that smokers and former smokers are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection itself. The reason for this is the increased expression of the ACE2 gene in former and current smokers, which is used by activated SARS-CoV-2 virus proteins that bind to the receptor in human cells, coded just by the ACE2 gene.

Coronavirus likes smog and polluted air.

Following this lead, researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston found a link between air pollution and the increase in COVID-19 mortality. For their research, they used statistics on a population of 3,000 American counties, which corresponds to about 98 percent. of the entire population in the United States.

Conclusions? An increase in PM2.5 aerosol pollution by 1μg per cubic meter leads to 15%. increase in the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

- This information may prove very useful for populations exposed to high air pollution, who may prepare additional precautions in advance to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The virus itself will stay with us for quite a long time, so we should do everything to reduce the number of fatalities - says Dr. Xiao Wu, one of the co-authors of the study .

A second study, conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences of the University of Aarhus in Denmark, indicates that higher levels of air pollution in northern Italy are another factor increasing the death rate from COVID-19 infection. However, the authors of the second study are more reticent about the impact of polluted air on patient mortality:

- We cannot afford to neglect other, co-existing factors responsible for high mortality [in northern Italy]. These include: a higher average age of the population, large differences between regional healthcare systems, the performance of intensive care units and the way the virus spreads and presumably had a greater impact on mortality than pollution alone - we read in the publication .

Large, contaminated agglomerations are SARS-CoV-2's favorite environment.

Big cities usually mean both smog polluted air and a huge number of people living together in a small space. Such conditions are excellent when it comes to the possibility of spreading viruses. If we add to this the fact that within the first few days after SARS-CoV-2 infection most patients do not show the slightest symptoms of the disease, we have the perfect recipe for a global pandemic.

The above studies, which indicate the relationship between air pollution and the increased mortality of COVID-19 patients, are not very good news for Poland. If we consider the degree of pollution of most Polish cities, the prospect of further development of the epidemic in our country does not look too optimistic.



Patients who lived in polluted air are less affected by COVID-19

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