Air quality and Covid-19

A series of recent studies has further revealed a possible connection between the level of air pollution and vulnerability to the latest coronavirus.

A US-based study by the researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry explored the relationship between chronic exposure to hazardous air pollution and the recorded Covid-19-related death rate. After controlling for variables such as wealth and underlying health, the team found evidence that increased exposure to pollutants may have been a contributing factor in up to 9 % of recorded Covid-19 deaths. [Source]

Researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health believe it could be higher. They analyzed data on PM2,5 levels and attributed deaths from around 3,000 U.S. counties covering 98 % of the US population. Counties that averaged just one microgram per cubic meter more PM2,5 had a Covid-19-related death rate that was 15 % higher. [Source



The European Society of Cardiology broadly agreed with their Harvard colleagues, positing that 15 % of recorded Covid-19 deaths could possibly be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution.
This observation was also made in the IQAir 2020 World Air Quality Report. However, the study findings are couched in equivocal terms, referring to:

"… the fraction of Covid-19 deaths that could be avoided if the population were exposed to lower counterfactual air pollution levels without fossil fuel-related and other anthropogenic emissions. The attributable fraction does not imply a direct cause-effect relationship between air pollution and Covid-19 mortality (although it is possible). [Source]"