An important study conducted by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Heath, released last week, found that an increase of only 1 µg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate.
We’ve seen research before showing that very small increases in exposure to air pollution can have a major impact on health (and therefore on the number of people that die as a result), but this is striking – not just because it’s topical, but because a straight line can be drawn from air pollution to very negative health outcomes.
The study’s conclusion says:
‘A small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate, with the magnitude of increase 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and all- cause mortality. The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.’
What does this mean to us at AirSensa? The lack of hyperlocal pollution monitoring (and the ability to avoid as much exposure as possible) is putting everyone at a hugely increased risk of death in the short term, let alone in the long term. Yes, it’s important to have good air pollution regulations, but no country in the world measures air pollution in real time on a hyperlocal basis today, so we can’t track and understand individual exposure, or give people apps that will help them avoid it.
Around 20% of the population is already especially vulnerable to air pollution, and that number is now growing rapidly with Covid-19. Now more than ever it is vital that vulnerable people get this information; which government will be the first to step up and help us make this happen?
For more information: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/climate/air-pollution-coronavirus-covid.html