Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15% of Covid-19 deaths globally, according to research published Tuesday that highlights the health risks posed by greenhouse gas emissions.
AFP: previous research has showed how air pollution from exhaust fumes and factories takes two years off the life expectancy of every man, woman and child on Earth.
Now experts in Germany and Cyprus say they have estimated the proportion of deaths from coronavirus that can be blamed of the exacerbating effects of air pollution.
Their study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, drew on health and disease data from the US and China relating to air pollution, Covid-19 and SARS - a serious lung disease similar to Covid.
They combined this with satellite data of global exposure to particulate matter - microscopic particles - as well as ground-based pollution monitoring networks, to calculate to what extent air pollution can be blamed for Covid-19 deaths.
In East Asia, which has some of the highest levels of harmful pollution on the planet, the authors found that 27% of Covid-19 deaths could be attributed to the health effects of poor air quality.
In Europe the proportion was 19%, compared with 17% in North America.