Tuesday, December 05, 2023


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce

Study Shows Link Between Fine Particle Air Pollution and COVID-19 Mortality

pollution in Los Angeles

A new nationwide study conducted by researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health is the first to show a statistical link between long-term exposure to pollution and COVID-19 death rates.1 The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, shows that coronavirus patients living in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients living in parts of the country with less air pollution.1

In the analysis, data was collected for approximately 3,000 counties in the United States (98 percent of the population) up to Apr. 4, 2020. The study revealed that higher levels of tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the COVID-19 infection.

What is PM2.5 ?

PM2.5 is believed to be one of the world’s most dangerous air pollutants. It is made up of tiny particles (smaller than 2.5 micrometers) that can seep into human lungs and bloodstreams.2 The source of PM2.5 is usually automobile exhaust and power plants, as well as toxic fine particle air pollution from burning wood and coal.

Several studies have linked high levels of PM2.5 to  heart disease, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. It has been estimated that PM2.5 contributed to 4.2 million deaths worldwide in 2015 alone.2

Study: Smallest Increase in PM2.5 Can Increase COVID-19 Death Rates

The Harvard study reveals that even an increase in one microgram per cubic meter of air could potentially increase COVID-19 deaths by 15 percent even accounting for factors like smoking rates and population density.1 For example, the study found that an individual living in a county for decades with high levels of PM2.5 is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution.3

According to Francesca Dominici, PhD, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard University and a principal investigator on the study, “This study provides evidence that counties that have more polluted air will experience higher risks of death for COVID-19.”3

The authors write:

The results of this study also underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations during the COVID-19 crisis. Based on our result, we anticipate a failure to do so can potentially increase the COVID-19 death toll and hospitalizations, further burdening our healthcare system and drawing resources away from COVID-19 patients.1



8 Responses

  1. Very interesting information. While pollution rates in this country are well below what they were in the ’50’s onwards, other countries do not have the necessary wealth to put scrubbers on smokestacks etc….to come up with cleaner ways of doing things. And many ….such as China, are willing to sacrifice the health of their workers in industrial centers away from the political elites’ living quarters. While continuing to do what we can to insure we maintain the gains that have been made here, and that ingenuity is permitted to flourish….what can we do to avoid breathing particulate matter (masks would be more useful for that than protecting from viruses measuring in the microns, I’m thinking…though they do hinder breathing). How do we cleanse from these things.

  2. Yes this is likely true. If you’re exposed to high levels of environmental toxins, including fine particulate matter in the air, you are more susceptible to the common cold and common flue.

    You know all those epa certified stoves? They actually condense a certain spectrum of air particulates and are now showing up to be more dangerous to people than just letting the smoke bellow out.

  3. the difference is just that cities are inflating the death rate, the rural areas are not-at least yet.

    1. I think that cities will tend to have much higher air particulates than the rural areas, even if the numbers are being fudged or not.

  4. Well, of course. Put stress on the lungs day by day and they and the immune system are impacted. It took a study to show this? I would have thought that common sense would have been enough.

  5. How do you avoid this? Well you can start by getting an administration that is not rolling back the EPA air & water quality regulations and approving more & more toxic chemicals/pesticides /herbicides polluting the environment.
    It makes sense that Wuhan,Italy & NY would have such high numbers of sick people. Both have dense populations, terrible air quality and large percentage of elderly. Disease has always targeted the weakest link; but isn’t it handy for the elite that 80-90% of the deaths are those who collect SS and Medicare and the black community is also dying at a much higher rate right before the election? As soon as they bankrupt all of us from this shut down they will sweep in and buy up everything at fire sale prices just like last time in 2008- 2009. Another huge transfer of wealth & power.

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