According to a study published by the Nevada-based Desert Research Institute, air pollution could play a role in susceptibility to COVID-19. Multiple studies have already shown that poor air quality can increase the risk of catching the virus and dying from it.
When dangerous particles from wildfires are present, it seems like there is an uptick in COVID-19 cases. During summer last year, Reno received an influx of cases of COVID-19 when the city was blanketed in heavy smoke from wildfires for weeks. The Desert Research Institute found when PM 2.5 particles existed in the air, coronavirus cases also increased 18 percent.
“When PM 2.5 levels went up, we saw COVID-19 casing going up. We just found in association, there are reasons to think that the association may be causal,” said study co-author Daniel Kiser. Researchers hope that the study can help motivate people to minimize their exposure to wildfire pollution and COVID-19 with the help of masks and vaccination.
Kiser also added that this study is “just one more reason to be to be cautious, one more thing to be aware of, that wildfire smoke and air pollution, in general, can play a role in exacerbating COVID-19.” The research highlights the importance of being aware of the air pollution forecast and pollution levels in your city. Be aware of precautionary measures to reduce the harm to your health.
The study concluded that “Wildfire smoke may have greatly increased the number of COVID-19 cases in Reno. Thus, our results substantiate the role of air pollution in exacerbating the pandemic and can help guide the development of public preparedness policies in areas affected by wildfire smoke, as wildfires are likely to coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.”