Decades of rising air pollution in many parts of the USA may make the coronavirus pandemic even more unsafe for people living in the country's most heavily polluted areas, according to a new study released by Harvard University on Tuesday.
An increase of 1 cubic meter in the long-term average of particulate matter, researchers wrote, "is associated with a statistically significant increase of 15% in the COVID-19 death rate". She said she wanted to get the information out as soon as possible because it suggests health officials should pay closer attention to limiting the damage in the worst-polluted communities, including many in California, where people's health has long suffered from poor air quality.
"We are working on a cluster containment strategy", said Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal, leading the effort to tackle the outbreak. The BBC has analysed air pollution since 23 March, compared to the same period in 2019.
The findings come as the Trump administration plows ahead with major environmental rollbacks even as the coronavirus crisis widens.
Environmentalists and health groups said the study provides stark new evidence of the shortsightedness of weakening or delaying pollution safeguards during the pandemic.
Roads deserted during lockdown measures to prevent the spread of new coronavirus in Prayagraj, India. While air pollution levels certainly impact visibility in northern India, smog in the area is typically at its worst in the winter. "In fact, it is more important than ever".
Out of the 5194 cases, 4,643 cases are reported to be active cases while 401 people have recovered/discharged and one migrated.
The death toll on Tuesday evening was 124.
The research team is automating its analysis to rerun as the pandemic continues, Dominici said, "unfortunately, as we expect the number of deaths to increase".
The study claims that if an area has a higher air pollution standing, the possibility of more positive Coronavirus patients will also follow.
John R. Balmes, a spokesman for the American Lung Association and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the latest research, said the findings have particular relevance for health care in low-income and minority-dominated neighborhoods, where levels of harmful pollutants tend to be higher.
Researchers also sought to take into account a number of factors, including population density and the age of the population in an area, poverty levels, racial demographics, statistics on obesity and smoking, weather conditions like average daily temperature and humidity and the number of COVID-19 tests performed by the states.
"We need to make sure that hospitals taking care of folks who are more vulnerable and with even greater air pollution exposure have the resources they need", Balmes told The New York Times. Other cities in the United States with air pollution problems could, unfortunately, be next.
Counties with higher pollution levels, Dominici said, "will be the ones that will have higher numbers of hospitalisations, higher numbers of deaths and where numerous resources should be concentrated".