Covid-19: Air polluted by wildfire smoke caused 17 % spurt in Corona cases, says study

By: |
July 17, 2021 1:46 PM

The results of the research found that there was an increase of about 17.7 percent in the Covid-19 cases in the areas affected by severe wildfire pollution.

The Reno metropolitan area which falls in Northern Nevada reported more severe instances of wildfire smoke last year in comparison to neighbouring areas including San FranciscoThe Reno metropolitan area which falls in Northern Nevada reported more severe instances of wildfire smoke last year in comparison to neighbouring areas including San Francisco. (Representative image)

A recent study in the United States has found that the population exposed to wildfire smoke was more vulnerable to the viral spread of Coronavirus than other communities that were not in the midst of severe air pollution. The research conducted by the US institutions Center for Genomic Medicine aimed to find if the increased levels of wildfire smoke emitted in the Western US was behind the spurt of Covid-19 cases in Reno, Nevada. The results of the research were in line with their hypothesis which found that there was an increase of about 17.7 percent in the Covid-19 cases in the areas affected by the wildfire, the Indian Express reported.

To understand the correlation between Covid-19 spread and the wildfire pollution, the researchers got hold of the PM 2.5 levels air quality data along with the positivity rate of Covid-19 infections from the areas. The increase in the Covid-19 spread was in the period between August 16 and October 10 last year when the western US reported prolonged instances of wildfire smoke.

The Reno metropolitan area which falls in Northern Nevada reported more severe instances of wildfire smoke last year in comparison to neighbouring areas including San Francisco. The researchers also found that the Reno region experienced increased PM 2.5 air quality levels for a period of 43 days in contrast to only 26 days of intense air pollution reported in San Francisco.

Gai Elhanan, who is a co-lead author of the study was quoted as saying that the findings of the research would come to the aid of US Public Health officials who can plan to take measures to allow people escape such severe wildfire events. The US research also has implications for countries like India which have a large number of cities with severe air quality levels including the national capital Delhi which gets shrouded in the layers of smoke before winters due a range of factors.

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