The COVID-19 virus that infiltrated the world almost a year ago has become quite the perplexing disease; as scientists, doctors and other specialists scramble to understand it. There have been many developments made as knowledge increases surrounding COVID-19. Last week, some new studies emerged regarding Coronavirus severity of symptoms and polluted areas around the country. One newly released study from Harvard University released findings that areas with higher pollution levels around the country could be connected to the higher death rates of the Coronavirus. Abcnews.com stated; “According to a nationwide study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, people with COVID-19 who live in areas with high air pollution levels are more likely to die than those who live in less polluted regions.The study looked at 3,080 different counties and looked at the levels of fine particulate air pollution — specifically tiny particles called “particulate matter” — which is generated by fuel combustion from cars, refineries and power plants — and compared it to the risk of death from the Coronavirus in the U.S. They found that a small increase — one microgram per cubic meter — in long-term exposure to particulate matter leads to a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate”.
With many so many counties around the country having elevated pollution levels, this can be concerning to residents in these areas. The data is all so new and has the potential to evolve over time as experts discover more and more about COVID-19 and the effects it has on each individual infected. For now, researchers are working to find as much information as possible with these links of air pollution and COVID-19. The data supports findings about air pollution and lung health that has been well established, as reported by abcnews.com. “’The nation has known for some time that long-term exposure to particle pollution can worsen symptoms of lung disease, increase susceptibility to lung infection, trigger heart attack and stroke, and can even cause lung cancer and premature death. This new research from Harvard now links particle pollution exposure to a dramatically higher death rate from COVID-19,’ Harold Wimmer, president of the American Lung Association said in a statement”.
Although this knowledge can be concerning, residents with a compromised heart or lungs in areas with higher pollution can take measures to protect themselves and stay healthy. Health.com recommends taking a vacation somewhere more rural with lower pollution levels to give your heart and lungs a break, or a “stay”cation inside where many people have air filters and air conditioning. Avoiding areas deep in cities that tend to have the highest levels of pollution can also be helpful, as well as wearing high quality masks (which will also help with Coronavirus protection when out in public). Maintaining heart and lung health are key components to staying strong and healthy, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. By taking health and safety measures, people can do their part to keep the risk of complications lower in the chance they do someday contract the virus. Keeping your body healthy is pivotal, not only during a worldwide pandemic but in everyday life as well.