Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Air-pollution may trigger novel corona virus mortality

Urbab air pollution. www.pinterest.com
Above image:  Indian cities slip into  way bottom when it comes to the vortex of air pollution. The shocking news is 100 per cent Indians are exposed to PM 2.5 air pollutants in excess of the value specified by the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines, according to a report by The World Bank.  Prolonged exposure to these particles  may trigger asthma, lung irritation and coughing while in the long-term, it can cause lung cancer .......... ....................
The European  Public Health  Alliance (EPHA) recently  warned the public health officials  that  air pollution from petrol an diesel would  likely  increase mortality  from  novel corona virus in cities.  The sustained dirty air in urban and semi urban areas that causes respiratory, cardiac and  diabetes ailment  would add up the overall death toll triggered by corona virus  currently sweeping across the globe.  Right from boom towns to boon dogs in the US and elsewhere are in the grip of corona scare.  The health officials need to pay better attention to the  increasing levels of emissions from petrol and diesel engines  in metros that could affect the vulnerable in this hour of pandemics and also in the future. Patients with lung or heart conditions already affected by long-term exposure to air pollution are less able to fight off lung infections and more likely to die, according to European Respiratory Society (EPS).
This underlying health damage means respiratory infections, such as corona virus, may well have a more serious impact on  people in the  city  and those exposed to toxic fumes, than on others.  On the basis of a rough calculation   a US expert postulates  that tens of thousands of premature deaths from air pollution may have been avoided by the cleaner air in China, far higher than the 3,208 corona virus deaths.
Air-pollution. www.nationthailand.com
“Patients with chronic lung and heart conditions caused or worsened by long-term exposure to air pollution are less able to fight off lung infections and more likely to die. This is likely also the case for Covid-19,” said Sara De Matteis, at Cagliari University, 

Research  work on the Mers coronavirus outbreak (in Saudi Arabia in 2012), showed that tobacco smokers were more likely to get the disease and were more likely to die. Early research on Covid-19 suggests smokers and former smokers are more susceptible to the virus.  Covid-19 appears to have a lower overall mortality rate than Sars or Mers.
Delhi with high air-pollution. .downtoearth.org.in
 The COVID -19 virus already affected more than 168,000 people and killed over 65000 world over. In the wake of this emerging dangerous pandemic, the European countries have put in place unprecedented health care measures to prevent the spread of this slow killer and  to keep the patients in good nick. Though there is no proven link between corona virus and air-pollution, one peer-reviewed study conducted in 2003 on SARS outbreak showed the possible link between air pollution and SARS. Patients in regions with moderate air pollution were 84% more likely to die than those in regions with low air-pollution.  COVID -19, being similar to SARS could cause respiratory failures in severe cases.

In the absence of mortality data of corona virus, on the basis of preliminary reports, the majority who died were elderly or who had per-existing chronic  conditions such as heart  or lung disease. According to the EEA - European Environmental Agency  air-pollution causes 400,000 death across the continents annually despite air quality directives.  In the case of Italy, northern part is a COVID - 19 hot spot   because of high levels of PM -10  microscopic particles of pollution due to heavy vehicular traffic on the road.  On march 15, 2020, the  number of fatalities  spiked  by 368 to 1809 - more than half of the cases recorded  outside China.
environmental impact. air-pollution. www.alamy.com/
According to an article published last week in the Journal of Cardiovascular Research air-pollution causes reduction in life expectancy  world wide on an average by three years resulting in 8.8 million premature death annually. The Italian report pointed out the shut down of the northern part had led to marked reduction in nitrous oxide and small particulate matter in the air. In China after January, 2020 when certain urban areas were shut down,  the level of PM 2.5, dangerous small pollution particles, fell by 25%, while nitrogen dioxide, produced mainly by diesel vehicles, dropped by 40%.
air-pollution. alamy.com

As far as India is concerned, air-pollution is a  bad scenario in big as well as small cities and towns, part of the reason is none of the urban and semi areas across India have good tree cover.  If you have large tree cover in urban space, it will cut down particulate matter considerably and people will have better air  to breathe. Both the  center and state government must give priority to reduce the  prevailing air pollution as much as they can by planting more trees  and by checking on automobile  emissions on a regular basis.   India is in the grip of corona virus attack, cutting down air-pollution, water pollution and giving priority to public hygiene will improve the overall mortality of the Indian natives.  While the state and central governments are taking precautions, the people, in particular,  senior citizens with pre- existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart and respiratory problems should take extra precaution  when venturing out.  It is the responsibility of Indian citizens to keep their place of living clean and tidy.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/17/air-pollution-likely-to-increase-coronavirus-death-rate-warn-experts 
The new Indian Express (Tiruchi edition) dated:  March 17, 2020. Page: 16::  ''Experts warns air pollution may increase novel corona virus  mortality''