October 30, 2020
By Ramona du Houx
In late October a study, published in Cardiovascular Research, estimated that about 17 percent of deaths in North America from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution.
It is the first time a study has estimated the proportion of deaths from the coronavirus that could be attributed to the exacerbating effects of air pollution for every country in the world.
The study estimated that about 15 percent of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. In Europe the proportion was about 19 percent, in North America it was 17 percent, and in East Asia about 27 percent.
In their CVR paper, the researchers write that these proportions are an estimate of “the fraction of COVID-19 deaths that could be avoided if the population were exposed to lower counterfactual air pollution levels without fossil fuel-related and other anthropogenic emissions.”
The research team includes Professor Jos Lelieveld, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, and the Cyprus Institute Nicosia, Cyprus, Professor Thomas Münzel, from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research, Mainz, and Dr. Andrea Pozzer, from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry.