Years Project: The link between the coronavirus and particulate air pollution (Video)

  • Published on May 7th, 2020

There’s a link between #coronavirus and fossil fuel-related deaths. It’s revealing just how deadly the air we breathe has always been, even before the pandemic hit.

By Maggie Badore
The Years Project

Coronavirus and Fossil Fuels: Airborne Killers

There’s a link between #coronavirus and fossil fuel-related deaths. It’s revealing just how deadly the air we breathe has always been, even before the pandemic hit. #COVID19 #YEARSproject

Posted by Climate Facts on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sarah Vogel, the Vice President of EDF’s Health program, has some more background:

It’s been widely reported that air quality in cities around the world has suddenly improved — but of course, this hasn’t happened in the way anyone would want. A decrease in traffic and commercial and industrial activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a temporary decrease in pollution…

Globally, air pollution is estimated to be responsible for nearly 40% of lower respiratory tract infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease burden and about 20% of coronary heart disease and diabetes burden. While air quality may have temporarily improved in discrete regions, these health conditions — caused by long term exposure — don’t go away. 

The impact of this dangerous combination will not only hit individuals, but could be an additional burden on our already overloaded healthcare system. Many hospitals are already operating near capacity and facing a spike in demand for equipment like ventilators and masks — supplies which are also needed for those with ongoing heart and lung conditions.

To make matters worse, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it would cut back enforcement of environmental protections during the COVID-19 pandemic…

More on the particulate pollution study from our own Climate Denier Roundup, War on Science: WSJ attacks coronavirus pollution link health study for failing to use time travel (really!):

…the Journal fixated on research from Harvard which found that the PM2.5 (soot) from burning fossil fuels and other sources has increased the public’s risk of dying from coronavirus.

…the Harvard research findings were updated and revised downward. The updated findings show an increase in PM2.5 pollution is “associated with an 8% increase in the COVID-19 death rate,” as opposed to the 15% increase that was originally reported.

… But the Journal doesn’t bother to look into any of that actual evidence or the practice of science as a self-correcting process, and ignores entirely the fact that the study was updated to address concerns about confounding factors. Instead the editorial just repeats outdated criticisms and fabricated others.

For example, the study was originally released at the start of April, and was updated on April 24th. But the May 4th editorial faults the study published originally on April 5th for not counting “deaths after April 22.” Really.

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