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Air pollution ‘likely’ to increase mortality from COVID19: experts

(EurActiv, 16 Mar 2020) Air pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles is likely to increase mortality from the novel coronavirus in cities, public health experts told AFP Monday (16 March).

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) warned that dirty air in urban areas that causes hypertension, diabetes and other respiratory illness could lead to a higher overall death toll from the virus currently sweeping the world.

Emissions from petrol and diesel engines were still at “dangerous” levels that could imperil the most vulnerable during this and future pandemics, said the European Respiratory Society (EPS), which is a member of the EPHA.

“Patients with chronic lung and heart conditions caused or worsened by long-term exposure to air pollution are less able to fight off lung infections and more likely to die,” EPS member Sara De Matteis said.

“This is likely also the case for COVID-19,” added de Matteis, who is also an associate professor in occupational and environmental medicine at Italy’s Cagliari University.

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EurActiv, 16 Mar 2020: Air pollution ‘likely’ to increase mortality from COVID19: experts