COVID-19: air pollution could have impact on the disease course
In the media reported daily about the latest Coronavirus infection and death figures. This shows that the mortality rate are considerable differences between different countries. One explanation might be the different levels of air pollution in the different regions.
The number of deaths from Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in Germany is measured in terms of the number of detected Infection rates are comparatively low. In countries such as Italy, the case mortality rate is significantly higher. According to professionals, the differences in, inter alia, the age structure, and medical conditions can be explained. A role could also play the air pollution.
More deaths in regions with a permanently high pollution
According to a recent communication from the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) could have high nitrogen dioxide levels in the air in connection with high death numbers in a row of COVID-19-diseases. A new study the LMU provides for this presumption, for the first time concrete Figures.
The data suggest that the combined satellite data on air pollution and air streams with confirmed cases of death in connection with COVID-19. The study shows that regions with a permanently high pollutant levels have significantly more deaths than other regions.
The results were published in the journal “Science of the Total Environment”.
Coronavirus affects the respiratory system
As the communication explains, is nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant in the air that damages the respiratory system of the people. It’s been known for many years that he can promote to the people numerous respiratory or cardiovascular complaints.
“As the novel Coronavirus affecting the respiratory tract, there is the presumption that there is a connection between air pollution and death at Covid-19 could be,” said Dr. Yaron Ogen, from the Institute of Geosciences and geography at MLU.
But there is a lack of this is, as yet, of reliable Figures.
Hotspots with high air pollution and low air movement
In the new study, the scientists combined three data sets: measurements of regional pollution with nitrogen dioxide obtained from the satellite Sentinel 5P of the European space Agency, ESA, monitoring the air pollution of the earth continuously.
Based on this data, the expert created a global Overview of regions with high and long-term nitrogen dioxide exposure ends. “I’ve looked at the values for January and February of this year, before the Corona have started outbreaks in Europe,” explains Sheets.
This data from the researchers, combined with the information provided by the U.S. weather authority flows NOAA to the vertical air.
The idea is that If the air is in motion, to be distributed in the near-ground pollutants stronger. The air but remains rather on the ground, the same is true for the pollutants in the air, which are inhaled more from the people and lead to health problems.
With the help of this data, the scientists could see the world’s Hotspots with a high level of air pollution and at the same time a low air movement.
High pollution with nitrogen dioxide
This compared the Sheets with the information on cases of death in connection with COVID-19. Specifically, he analyzed the data from Italy, France, Spain, and Germany.
It turned out that especially the regions have a high Death toll, in which both the pollution with nitrogen dioxide is particularly high as well as the vertical exchange of air are particularly low.
“If we look at, for example, the North of Italy, the Metropolitan area of Madrid or the province of Wuhan in China, we see a peculiarity: they are all surrounded by mountains. This makes it even more likely that the air in these regions is stable, and the burden of pollutants is higher,“ explains Sheets.
According to Calleo, the advantage of his analysis is that it focuses on the level of individual regions and not only countries, compares was. For a country it can be an average value for the air pollution, however, could vary from Region to Region is very different, and therefore not a reliable indicator, the scientists.
Poorer state of health in the affected regions
Like that, this could have led to persistent air pollution in the affected regions as a whole, a worse state of health of the people and that they are therefore particularly vulnerable to the Virus.
“My work on the subject is only a first note that there appears to be a correlation between the degree of air pollution, air movement, and the Severity of the gradient of the Corona bursts”, so the geoscientist.
This connection should now be used for other regions and in a larger context are examined. (ad)