Wildfire smoke linked to spike in COVID-19 cases, researchers say

30th August, 2021.      //   Climate Change  // 

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A new study from university researchers concluded that approximately 20% of COVID-19 cases in California and Washington state were linked to wildfires that befell within the area.

“Clearly, we see that, overall, this is often a awfully dangerous combination,” said Francesca Dominici, a biostatistics professor at Harvard and co-author of the study. “It’s a very scary thing as we still face these wildfires all round the world.”

Last year, while the pandemic was raging both nationally and across the world, wildfires were doing much of the identical on the West Coast of the us, particularly in California, Oregon, and Washington.

In California particularly, the state went through five of the six largest wildfires in their history. Currently, the Dixie Fire that has overtaken the state is that the second largest fire in state history, in keeping with The Washington Post.

Similar studies regarding air quality and COVID-19 have proven that significant pollution can cause worsened coronavirus symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already stated that wildfire smoke can make individuals “more at risk of lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

In their study, Harvard researchers utilized information on COVID-19 cases in deaths in counties affected negatively by the wildfires. together with using satellite data to trace quantities of material, researchers were able to conclude that there’s “strong evidence” linking increases in poor air quality to COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“We found that, in a number of the counties, the proportion of the overall number of COVID-19 cases and deaths thanks to the high levels of PM2.5 was substantial,” the study read.

For those living in these troublesome spots, Dominici and her team suggest that they get vaccinated.

“Especially in these counties, i feel that absolutely everybody should get vaccinated ASAP, because this study points [out] that these counties are often more affected, both in terms of cases and deaths,” she said. “I understand it’s not feasible for everybody, but to the degree they can: Move and be faraway from this exposure to wildfires at now we’ve this delta variant coming in.”