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Environmental pollution increases the severity and mortality of Covid-19

Coronavirus, Deaths, Europe, Healthcare, Hospitalization, Infection, Pollution, Spain, Transmission

People who live in cities where airborne pollutants exceed the threshold set by the WHO suffer from COVID-19 more severely and are more likely to die.

During the first wave of the pandemic, the clinical data of 2,112 patients admitted to fifteen hospitals in Catalonia were analyzed and compared with the PM10 levels recorded by the monitors of the Air Pollution Surveillance and Forecasting Network (Catalan government) in the cities where the hospitals were located from 2014 until the onset of the pandemic.

It was concluded that COVID was more severe and lethal in people living in areas with a PM10 concentration above the WHO limit. It was also found that when an individual is infected with SARS-CoV-2, the course of the disease is determined more by chronic exposure to PM10 than other conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia, which had become widely recognized risk factors for predicting the severity of infection through a retrospective study applying mathematical models.

Finally, an increase of 1 µg/m3 in chronic PM10 exposure was estimated to lead to a 3% increase in the number of patients with a severe case of COVID-19, which can result in more deaths.

Universitat Rovira i Virgili Study (in English)




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