It’s no secret that air pollution weakens human respiratory systems leading to significantly higher fatalities when a person living in a heavily polluted area is exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (aka covid19).
Evidence also points to a higher covid transmission rate in heavily air-polluted cities and industrial areas, but there is still debate among scientists whether the air PM (particulate matter) is an active transmitter of the virus particles and droplets.
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health points out “that NO2 concentrations [is] positively associated with the transmission ability of covid-19” (noting that NO2 is released into the atmosphere from vehicle and industrial site emissions).
This is troubling as data “shows that 99% of the global population breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants” according to the World Health Organization.
There is sufficient evidence pointing to a correlation of higher covid 19 transmission in high NO2 polluted areas but we need to be careful in drawing conclusions on air pollution transmission as a key factor of the spread of covid19. Other factors that may have equal or greater impact on covid19 transmission in polluted environments may well be the low sanitary conditions and general lack of health awareness among the poor populations where significant industrial polluting factories and industries are located.
Is air pollution a principal transmitter of covid-19 droplets or is the transmission problem more related to the side effects of poverty?
Check back soon for further updates.