It is a well-known fact that air pollution can cause problems with your breathing and respiratory system, and recent research has shown that it is also impacting the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. The study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in the Netherlands revealed that those regions in the country with high pollution rates were experiencing a greater number of hospitalization and deaths during the pandemic.
The study examined 355 municipalities within the country, measuring the levels of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and fine particles in the air. The results showed that in those areas where pollutant levels were higher than average, there was a clear increase in the overall number of coronavirus cases. Using this research, the institute calculated that halving the pollutant levels would result in an average of 82 fewer cases, and 19 fewer deaths, in each region.
The IZA Institute research supported the results found by the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard
T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In this study, it was concluded that an increase of just 1 µg/m3 of fine particulate matter in the air led to an 8% increase in COVID-19 deaths. In comparison, the same increase in the Netherlands saw that rise to 16% due to the differing population density.
Although we are still in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, our understanding of the disease and how to treat it, is growing rapidly. These recent studies have shown that there is a link between air pollution and the number of COVID-19 cases, and by reducing the level of pollutants in the air you can see a significant drop in not only the number of new infections but also the severity of the disease in patients.