New research has found a link between a person’s exposure to air pollution and the severity with which they will experience the effects of COVID-19.
Commissioned by Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Imperial College London report found that exposure to air pollution before the pandemic increased the risk of hospital admissions if a person became infected with COVID-19.
They also found that exposure to air pollution might increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 and can increase susceptibility to a range of infectious lung diseases, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
‘This new review led by Imperial researchers makes it crystal clear that tackling air pollution is a vital part of building our resilience to COVID-19, and other infections like it. The decisions we make now to tackle air pollution are truly a matter of life and death,’ said Mayor Khan.
‘We cannot turn a blind eye to the clear evidence showing the dangers of toxic air pollution. That’s why I’m committed to expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone next month, and why I will continue to take the bold action necessary to eradicate pollution from our city.’
Professor Paul Plant, Public Health England’s deputy director for London, commented: ‘This is a welcome review of the literature with important tentative conclusions on the potential links between poor air quality and COVID-19.
‘Poor air quality particularly affects people who are more vulnerable to respiratory harm including those with heart and lung disease, children and the elderly, and exacerbates health inequalities. Improving air quality is crucial to reducing the health impacts of air pollution across London and will help people live longer, healthier lives beyond the pandemic.’