• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Is There A Link Between Pollution Levels And High Coronavirus Death Rate?

Delhi is known for its high pollution levels. Delhi has also witnessed India’s highest number of coronavirus cases. Does there exist a link between the two? Recently, with the onset of winter pollution levels are also rising. According to the latest reports, the air quality of Delhi has significantly worsened in just a span of two weeks. Pollution coronavirus connection has been affirmed by many studies. A significantly higher number of covid cases are registered in those countries where air pollution levels are high, Delhi being a prominent one.

The reason why the coronavirus pollution connection is so strong is because of the simple fact that pollutants can stimulate a constant inflammatory response. Thus they make one highly prone to being infected by the virus which primarily targets one’s respiratory system. Let us explore in detail how pollution in Delhi is making the conditions in the state conducive for the virus to thrive.

The Pollution Coronavirus Link You Need to Know

Pollution coronavirus

Woman with a mask, Credit: Canva


Doctors have been speculating a decisive positive connection between the increasing number of coronavirus cases and the worsening air pollution in Delhi. However, recent research by Harvard University has now confirmed their belief. The study carried out at T.H Chan School of Public Health found that the higher the pollutants in the air, the more death rates a particular city can report from the pandemic. Although this study was limited to the states in the US, one can certainly observe its implications in the Indian scenario.

The authors of this study have even gone so far as to say that prolonged exposure to pollution puts one directly at risk of experiencing the most severe of coronavirus symptoms. Thus, we can say that apart from individuals already suffering from an underlying health ailment, elderly with compromised immune health and people already suffering from some respiratory disorder, those exposed to pollution over a considerable span of time all are majorly at risk of developing this infection.

Why Delhi is at a Higher Risk For Coronavirus Infections

Protection against coronavirus

Woman sitting in her home, Credit: Canva


Pollution coronavirus or the effects of pollution resulting in a higher number of covid cases can especially be observed among poorer communities. In Delhi, the poor mainly dwell in ghettos that are near to areas like industrial units and sites where construction activities predominate. The high pollution in these areas can adversely impact their health, and from them, can spread to other parts of the population. Recently, the state’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reminded the citizens of the need to become aware of pollution levels and take action to keep it in check. He said that in their absence, Delhi will become a breeding ground of two emergencies related to health, the one caused by the virus, and the other caused by the pollution.

Pollution particles, like PM2.5, directly invade the lungs. After that, they result in inflammation and other kinds of damage. After damaging the lungs, they mix into the bloodstream, which then results in dangerous health complications. Like coronavirus, pollution also adversely impacts those suffering from an underlying ailment like high blood pressure, diabetes, or respiratory disease asthma. In perfectly healthy individuals, pollution dramatically weakens immune health. A weakened immune system is what the coronavirus needs in order to make the person ills and in the process cause various other people near him or her to catch that illness. Thus pollution coronavirus connection is a reality that more and more number of people need to be aware of.

Both coronavirus and pollution start by damaging a very important internal organ of our body, that is, the lungs. Apart from giving one a worsened immune system, pollution does more than that. Nitrogen dioxide and particulate that is found in pollution act as mediums for the survival and spread of the virus.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Pollution and Coronavirus Infection?

  1. Stay at your home as much as possible, as venturing outside will only lead to you inhaling the polluted air.

  2. Always wear a face mask whenever you go out to keep yourself protected from pollutants and allergens. It will also help you to protect yourself from catching the COVID-19 infection from any person.

  3. Maintain proper hygiene. Keep yourself sanitised in order to kill the virus as well as to get rid of any pollution particles.

  4. Install an air purifier at home. By removing the toxic air, it will prove to be a great weapon that will protect you from polluted air.

  5. Eat healthily and exercise to maintain a strong immune system.

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