A study carried out by Harvard University in the United States has concluded that a small increase in longterm exposure to PM2.5 is associated with a 15 percent increase in the covid-19 death rate.
The results of the study have significant relevance in Thailand where cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai are constantly battling severe air pollution.
Data from AirVisual showed that air quality in Bangkok has only been considered “healthy” for four of the first 100 days in 2020. The other 96 days are broken down into “acceptable” (41 days), “moderately unhealthy” (33 days), and “unhealthy” (22 days).
Up north, Chiang Mai is experiencing some of the worst pollution in recent memory, consistently ranking as one of the top three most polluted cities in the world.
With wildfires raging in the area, the city recorded an “unhealthy” AQI of 155 as recently as yesterday afternoon.
The study was conducted on the basis that the majority of pre-existing medical conditions that increase the risk of coronavirus-related death are the same conditions that occur due to prolonged exposure to air pollution.
Alarmingly, the study discovered that a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in covid-19 death rate, with a magnitude of increase 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and all-cause mortality.
While air pollution is nothing new in Thailand’s major cities, the government must not neglect the importance of battling one of the country’s deadliest killers in addition to the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: Harvard University