COVID-19, Health Impact, News

What Happens When Covid-19 Meets Toxic Air? India Is About to Find Out

26 · Oct · 2020
Photograph by: Pixabay, licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

The following text was taken from the New York Times article under the same name. It has been shortened and edited for clarity and convenience. The Mongolian translation is available here. All rights belong to the New York Times. 

“NEW DELHI — As a thick quilt of smog wrapped itself around New Delhi on Thursday, signaling the start of the fall pollution season, doctors and scientists warned that the deteriorating air quality could make the city’s Covid-19 problems even worse. 

One of the most common symptoms of severe coronavirus cases is breathing difficulty. And doctors say that if the ambient air suddenly becomes more toxic, more people who become infected by the virus might end up in the hospital or die. 

‘If two people are shooting at the lungs, then obviously the lungs will have more problems,’ said Arvind Kumar, a chest surgeon and founder of the Lung Care Foundation in New Delhi. India is now struggling with two major health challenges that are both assaulting the respiratory system and peaking at the same time.

With 7.3 million reported infections, [India] is just behind the United States’ 7.9 million. And each day, India outpaces the United States in new infections by around 10,000 more cases per day, even as India’s death rate remains much lower. 

Last year, 14 of the 20 cities with the most hazardous air globally were in India. Health experts have detailed how such conditions can lead to brain damage, respiratory problems, and early death. Doctors say long-term exposure to severely polluted air can cause chronic lung inflammation, which can leave people who are exposed to the coronavirus more vulnerable. A recent study from Italy found a correlation between long-term exposure to dirty air and an increase in excess mortality—a measure of deaths above normal—from the coronavirus.

Many more people in India’s cities are donning masks these days because of the pandemic, but experts say this probably won’t help much. Most people wear cloth masks or surgical-type masks that don’t seal well and won’t stop someone from inhaling small pollution particles (or the virus, either).”

Read the original here.


Summarized by Jenny Simon

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