COVID-19 patients exposed to air pollution dying at double the rate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The quality of the air we breathe has always been a public health issue, but it is now magnified as the nation still struggles with COVID-19. 

Researchers from the State University of New York found that people across the country who live in areas with high amounts of hazardous air pollutants are dying at 1.5 times the rate than those not exposed. 

Hazardous air pollutants include formaldehyde, chromium and nickel. They are released into the air by cars, forest fires and even homes. According to the paper, published in Environmental Research Letters, southern states are at most risk. 

Authors say more research is needed. However, they hope these findings will help the public understand the “effects of chronic air pollution through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic.”

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.


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