Despite reports about purifying the air in some regions due to the strong reduction of transport, a longtime environmental pollution and the air can increase the risk of infection with coronavirus (COVID-19) in certain areas, warned Monday the European public health Alliance (EPHA). Experts are still studying this interaction, however, they support the hypothesis that some conditions can aggravate the effects of the virus.
for Example, doctors are associated hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory disease with elevated mortality from COVID-19.
“Patients with chronic diseases of the lungs and heart due to prolonged exposure to air pollution is less able to combat pulmonary infections, and they are more likely to die, says Sara De Matteis, member of the Committee on hygiene of environment European respiratory society (ERS), which is part of the EPHA. — Reducing the level of air pollution, you can help the most vulnerable people in their fight against this and any possible future pandemics”.
De Matteis adds: “of Course, most people live in the most polluted centers. This factor is now one of the main issues of infection by coronavirus. And this once again confirms the fact that social withdrawal prevents the development of virus.”
Indeed, according to the 2003 study, considering the situation with SARS victims, 84% of them previously lived in areas with moderate air pollution.
as for Europe, the air pollution here, leads annually to 400 thousand early deaths. One of the most affected areas — the valley of the river Po in Northern Italy, where the spread COVID-19 in February.
Now, when satellite images and official monitoring stations provide data on the reduction of NO2 pollution, human health has already been compromised.
“Governments have long had to deal with ProblAmoy chronic air pollution, but they gave preference to economic issues, mitigating the impact for the automotive industry, not the health of the population, — said the acting Secretary General EPHA Sasha Marching. When this crisis ends, policy must accelerate measures to get rid of a large number of vehicles polluting the atmosphere. According to scientific data such epidemics as COVID-19, will occur more often, so the cleaning of the streets — the main investment in a healthier future.”
the scientists Also are studying whether the toxic particles of the carrier of the virus. The publication of the Società Italiana Medicina Ambientale said about the possible relationship between the solid particles and the outbreak of the disease in the Po valley.
“According to the analysis in the period from 10 to 29 February the high concentration of particles, above the level of PM10, in some provinces of Northern Italy contributed to the strengthening of a virulent epidemic in the Po valley, which was not in other regions of Italy, where there have been cases of infection,” — said in the document.
the Researchers concluded that “the increasing frequency of infections in some regions of Northern Italy can be associated with the contamination, during which the air-transferred solid particles, which are amplifiers of infection.”
All of these hypotheses are being studied, but scientists recommend to take more action to prevent the recurrence of similar situations in the future.
“COVID-19 revealed previously unseen problems and caused enormous damage to human health: we can’t continue to be unprepared for the next outbreak. The coronavirus was a clear incentive to come to grips with measures to combat air pollution,” — said Zoltan Masai-Kosubek, political Manager of EPHA.