How do COVID-19 and air pollution relate?

July 20, 2022

In 2003 a group of scientists from China researched and examined the correlation between air pollution and the respiratory viral infection, SARS (SARS is 80% similar to COVID-19). Their studies indicated that people in the most polluted regions of the country, had a higher risk of dying from SARS compared to those from region with lower pollution.

SARS outbreak in China 2003


In 2003 a group of scientists from China researched and examined the correlation between COVID-19 and air pollution. Their studies indicated that people in the most polluted regions, had a higher risk of dying from SARS compared to those from region with lower pollution.

After China’s research, Europe and the U.S performed deeper investigations into the increasing deaths from COVID-19 and air pollution. Their findings demonstrated that COVID-19 and air pollution have a positive correlation and discovered that COVID-19 was more infectious and critical in places where PM 2.5 is higher.

Three hundred forty-nine (349) lives were claimed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China in the year 2002. The severity of the cases differed by geographical area; scientists believed that critical cases were due to the amount of pollution each geo area had. To prove it, scientists analysed five Chinese regions that contained 100 or more SARS cases and compared them to the amount of APIs (Air Pollution Index) of the area.

Air Pollution Index in China

The API of the cities during the epidemic was 75, 95, 98, 99, 104 (the higher the API, the higher the air pollution). The corresponding SARS fatality rate was: 3.84%, 5.36%, 7.66%, 8%. The data that was collected indicated that fatality rates increased with the increment of API.

China’s research highlighted the relationship between SARS and air pollution. It proved how exposure to air pollution has adverse health outcomes such as acute respiratory inflammation, asthma, and more.

Higher concentrations of air pollution increases COVID-19 fatality rates

The pandemic plus China’s study made scientists from Europe and the U.S study the correlation between PM 2.5 and COVID-19. PM 2.5 (the abbreviation of particulate matter) is a particulate pollutant mainly found in combustion (car engines, fireplaces). Numerous studies examined by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency have proven how this particle creates adverse effects on our health.

Particulate matter (PM) and its consequences

What makes PM 2.5 dangerous is its microscopic size that can enter our respiratory system, lungs, and bloodstream. Therefore, high exposure to it will cause long-term health problems.

Scientists from Harvard University  conducted a study to comprehend better the relationship PM 2.5 has with COVID-19. They performed the analysis using COVID-19 death counts that Johns Hopkins University had since the beginning of the pandemic till June 2020. They compared the number of deaths with the data that indicated the different PM 2.5 throughout the US from 2000-2016.

Their findings demonstrated that states with higher concentrations of PM 2.5 also had higher COVID-19 fatality rates. The data concluded that for every increase in PM 2.5, the probability of severe COVID-19 symptoms increased by 11%.

PM 2.5

COVID-19 and Europe

Air pollution in Italy

Another study by the University of Netherlands Vrije supported the idea of the critical correlation between PM 2.5 and COVID-19. Their findings demonstrated that for every 20% increase in air pollution, COVID-19 cases could rise by 100%. Researchers did not consider the previous health conditions of those who were infected. Meaning that the link between air pollution and the virus could be more severe.

Air pollution in Italy made it worst during the pandemic

Other studies performed by Italian and Danish researchers Edoardo Conticini and Bruno Frediani analysed what cities in Italy were most impacted by COVID-19.

The northern parts of Italy , such as Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, were the areas most altered by the virus, but also, they are two of the most polluted cities of Italy. Their findings highlighted that the COVID-19 death rate in the northern part of Italy was 12% compared to a national average of 4%, meaning that three times as many people died from COVID-19 as in the rest of Italy.

The studies mentioned above clearly highlight how COVID-19 is more dangerous in places with high air pollution (PM 2.5). This microscopic particle threatens our health due to its facility to enter our respiratory system. The studies demonstrate and highlight those high exposures to air pollution harm our health drastically.

They also demonstrate that there is more to learn about COVID-19, air pollution, and the adverse effects they cause on our bodies.

How can we protect ourselves?

The pandemic has made us appreciate our health more and has made us more aware and conscious of keeping us safe. COVID-19 and air pollution are inevitable to control, but we can control the quality of air in our indoor spaces. Fortunately, we can protect ourselves from indoor air pollution by using air purifiers.

Air purifiers protect ourselves

Air purifiers do not eliminate outdoor pollution, but they eliminate indoor air pollution and the associated health risks. Most importantly, they guarantee safe and clean air. AIR8 air purifiers offer superior HEPA 13 filters to ensure safe and clean air.

AIR8 air purifiers offer superior HEPA 13 filters can remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. We use the most advanced technology on the market to provide the security that everyone requires. Our medical-grade air purifiers have six high-level filtration stages. To eliminate toxic pollutants, each stage of filtration uses a different technology.

This combination of filters ensures the removal of 99.97 percent of hazardous substances. As said before, we cannot eliminate pollution, but we can guarantee you a clean and safe space indoors.

Air purifiers AIR8