Harvard scientists link wildfires to covid deaths

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Harvard scientists link wildfires to covid deaths
Harvard scientists link wildfires to covid deaths
16 August 2021, 17:25SciencePhoto: The Guardian
Air contaminated with smoke from wildfires, which raged in the United States with record strength last year, has been linked to a sharp increase in the incidence and death of coronavirus.

Harvard University staff found that 19,742 cases of covid and 748 deaths from it are associated with the release of tiny particulate matter PM2.5, which appeared in the air due to fires in the states of California, Oregon and Washington, according to NewScientist.

In an article published in the journal Science Advances, scientists say they studied the daily statistics of covid and PM2.5 levels from March to December 2020 in 92 counties, which cover 95% of the population of California, Oregon and Washington, and compared the result with the model. life without fires. They found that every additional 10 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air for 28 days resulted in an 11.7% increase in covid disease and a 52.8% increase in mortality. Scientists are confident that ultrafine particles affect the severity of the disease, and even those who could have been asymptomatic could develop symptoms.

This is another reason for reducing carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming and exacerbate forest fires. The link between prolonged exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of death and severe covid course is well documented. But new research shows that even short-term exposure to pollution can worsen the impact of a pandemic, and that in areas affected by wildfires, people need to get vaccinated and wear masks.

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