- People who live in polluted areas are more prone to get severe COVID-19 illness, leading to hospitalization and even death.
- The researchers discovered that areas with higher fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide were more likely to be admitted to the ICU.
- On Monday, Health Canada was unavailable to comment on the findings due to the Victoria Day holiday.
According to a new study, people who live in places with greater levels of air pollution are more likely to acquire severe COVID-19 sickness, which can lead to hospitalization and even death.
The study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Tuesday, found that COVID-19 cases who have been chronically exposed to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ground-level ozone had a higher risk of hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, and death.
“These findings suggest that chronic exposure to air pollution, particularly chronic exposure to (ozone), before SARS-CoV-2 illness may contribute to COVID-19 severity,” the researchers write.
Researchers from Health Canada conducted the research, which they also funded.
Researchers found all verified COVID-19 cases in Ontario in 2020 and excluded long-term care residents and anybody under 20, leaving slightly over 151,000 instances. Because of their frailty as well as differences in air pollution exposure relative to the general population, long-term care residents were omitted.
They were able to ascertain the demographics and location of those cases using government data, which they then cross-referenced with data on neighborhood air quality.
The researchers discovered that places with higher fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide had a higher risk of ICU admission. According to the data, less severe hospitalizations increased following exposure to fine particulate matter.
Ozone exposure was especially dangerous, increasing the chances of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death.
The study relies on prior research from Spain and Mexico that demonstrated correlations between chronic air pollution exposure as well as severe COVID-19 results.
Poor air quality has long been known to negatively affect respiratory health. Air pollution has been linked in numerous studies to increased asthma cases, infections, and even death.
Short-term exposure to air pollution was associated with everything from urinary tract infections to skin and tissue diseases to heart failure, according to a Harvard University study published in 2019.
According to Health Canada, air pollution is responsible for 15,300 fatalities in Canada each year, with many more persons losing days to asthma and acute respiratory problems resulting from pollution.
According to the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium, over 86 percent of Canadians live in locations where airborne fine particulate matter levels surpass the World Health Organization’s latest standards, released in September.
The CMAJ study took into account factors including neighborhood income and socioeconomic status, which may have contributed to an elevated risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and are linked to greater levels of air pollution.
The researchers discovered that the results were constant despite these changes, indicating a definite relationship between air pollution and hospitalization or death.
The researchers wrote in the article that “given the ongoing pandemic, our findings… could have substantial consequences for public health and health systems.”
According to the study, most hospitalized cases, ICU hospitalizations, and deaths in Ontario in 2020 who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were in the lowest neighborhood income category. They rated the highest on the Ontario Marginalization Index, assessing economic well-being.
According to research, people who live in disadvantaged areas are more likely to be exposed to air pollution including a nationwide study conducted by Statistics Canada in 2017.
Due to the Victoria Day vacation, Health Canada was unavailable to comment on the findings on Monday.
Source: Global News