Apr 22, 2020 03:36 AM

Does Air Pollution Add to Risk of Death From Covid-19?

What’s New: Recent studies suggest a link between the death risk from Covid-19 and air pollution.

Research published by German scientist Yaron Ogen on Science of the Total Environment indicated a positive correlation between Covid-19 fatality rates and exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant from the burning of fossil fuels that causes smog, contributes to global warming and triggers asthma.

Ogen studied 66 regions in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. He found that 78% of the Covid-19 deaths took place in the five areas with highest levels of nitrogen dioxide.

“It is reasonable to assume that there might be a correlation between air pollution and the number of deaths from Covid-19," Ogen said from the Institute of Geosciences and Geography at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Background: As the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 170,000 lives worldwide, scientists are closely studying how the disease affects different groups of people. Previous research has found that elderly people and those with underlying health issues are most vulnerable to the disease.

Recently, many scientists have begun focusing on the environmental factors that may affect the disease’s fatality rate. A previous study by Harvard University in the U.S. also suggested links between higher death rates from the coronavirus and long-term exposure to fine particulate matter in the air, often produced by burning of fossil fuels.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Han Wei ( and editor Bob Simison (

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