Sitemap

Covid-19

Lockdowns Clearing The Air

CorD Recommends

Belgrade Hosts International Energy and Environmental Fairs

At the Belgrade Fair, the 18th International...

Green Diplomacy Week 2023 Puts Energy in the Spotlight

"Empowering the Future: Cleaner Energy, More Equal...

EU Witnesses Record Surge in Packaging Waste Production

In 2021, the European Union produced 188.7...

Serbia’s Gaming Industry Sees Significant Growth and Employment Surge in 2023

In 2023, Serbia's gaming industry earned more than 175 million euros, marking a 17 percent increase from 2022, and...

Galenika Strengthens Market Position with New Strategic Partnerships

Galenika has significantly expanded its presence in the pharmaceutical sector by securing an exclusive distribution agreement with Cantabria Labs,...

HDZ Claims Victory in Croatian Elections but Lacks Majority

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the country's ruling party, emerged as the winner in Wednesday's parliamentary elections. Despite their...

Milšped Group Launches Direct Rail Line Between China and Serbia

Milšped Group, a leader in regional transportation and logistics, has announced a new partnership with Shijiazhuang International Land Port...

Miroslav Lajčak Appointed New EU Ambassador to Switzerland

Miroslav Lajčak, formerly the Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, has been appointed as the new EU Ambassador to...

As the novel coronavirus tears around the world, it’s exploiting our biggest weaknesses, from creaking health care systems to extreme social inequality. Its relationship with one pervasive and neglected problem, however, is more tangled: Air pollution has intensified the pandemic, but the epidemic has—temporarily—cleaned the skies

When new evidence emerged this week that dirty air makes Covid-19 more lethal, it surprised no one who has followed the science of air pollution—but the scale of the effect was striking. The study, which must still undergo peer review for publication, found that the tiny pollutant particles known as PM2.5, breathed over many years, sharply raise the chances of dying from the virus.

Researchers from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data on PM2.5 levels and Covid-19 deaths from about 3,000 U.S. counties covering 98 per cent of the U.S. population. Counties that averaged just one microgram per cubic meter more PM2.5 in the air had a Covid-19 death rate that was 15 per cent higher.

“If you’re getting COVID, and you have been breathing polluted air, it’s really putting gasoline on a fire,” said Francesca Dominici, a Harvard biostatistics professor and the study’s senior author.

That’s because the fine particles penetrate deep into the body, promoting hypertension, heart disease, breathing trouble, and diabetes, all of which increase complications in coronavirus patients. The particles also weaken the immune system and fuel inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract, adding to the risk both of getting Covid-19 and of having severe symptoms.

Dominici and her colleagues illustrated the impact with a specific example: Manhattan, the current epicentre of the pandemic, where PM2.5 averages range as high as 11 micrograms per cubic meter, and where 1,904 deaths from Covid-19 had been reported as of 4th April. Had particle levels averaged just one unit lower over the past two decades, the researchers calculated, 248 fewer people would have died over the past several weeks. And of course, the toll has mounted since 4th April.

But while pollution inhaled in the past is still causing harm today, the temporary experience of cleaner air brought about by widespread shutdowns may offer lessons for the kind of world we want to build after the pandemic.

People so accustomed to the pollution they hardly think about it may realise, “Actually, I really do quite enjoy clean air: Do you think we could get it, or keep it?” says Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London, an advocacy organisation. “There’s a chance to really get people to stop, take a deep breath,” and reflect on questions like “How was your asthma during this period?”

Although a near-halt in normal life and economic activity is no one’s idea of a good way to reduce pollution, the brief respite might, in Birkett’s view, turn this dark time into “a catalyst, or a tipping point, which could get us to say ‘Clean air—there’s something special about it.’”

CLEANER PANDEMIC SKIES

From China’s Hubei province to industrial northern Italy and beyond, pollution levels have plummeted as lockdowns aimed at slowing the viral spread have shuttered businesses and trapped billions of people at home. In India, where air pollution is among the world’s worst, “people are reporting seeing the Himalayas for the first time from where they live,” Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, said in an email.

India’s hastily imposed shutdowns have been devastating, leaving hundreds of thousands of migrant workers without homes or jobs. But in Delhi, where the air is normally choking, levels of both PM2.5 and the harmful gas nitrogen dioxide fell more than 70 per cent.

Related Articles

EU To Extend Digital Covid Certificate For Travel Until June 2023

As the current EU Digital Covid Certificate rules are set to expire on 30 June, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs...

WHO: Three Possible Scenarios For The Pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released an updated plan for Covid-19, describing three possible scenarios for how the pandemic may develop by the...

Anti-Vaccine Activists March In D.C. – City That Mandates Coronavirus Vaccination – To Protest Mandates

Thousands of protesters from across the country — including some of the biggest names in the anti-vaccination movement — descended on the nation’s capital Sunday for...

US Supreme Court Blocks Biden’s Workplace Vaccine Mandate

The US Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden's rule requiring workers at large companies to be vaccinated or masked and tested weekly. The justices...

Protests Against Covid Rules And Lockdowns Erupt Across Europe

Protests against fresh Covid-19 restrictions have rocked Europe over the weekend, with demonstrations breaking out in places such as Brussels, Vienna, Rome and Amsterdam. There...

Fauci: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rising Among Vaccinated

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising among people who are fully vaccinated, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.  Fauci discussed what was...

Serbia To Be Connected To The EU Digital COVID Certificate System

As of 16 November 2021, Serbia will be connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate System. Being part of the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate System...

U.S. To Lift Restrictions Nov 8 For Vaccinated Foreign Travelers

The White House will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of...