Exposure to polluted air increases risk of contagion and death from Covid among Latinos

EFE.- To the numerous factors that explain the impact of Covid-19 among the latinos of U.S, Colorado health authorities added a new element: the long-term exposure to polluted airEither due to natural causes (forest fires) or human actions (industries).

Although the connection between the polluted air, asthma and increased risk of contracting coronavirus It was already identified by experts from Harvard University in April, the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) applied these investigations in 20 specific jurisdictions and taking into account the ethnicity of the inhabitants.

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The result was a “clear association” between an increase in contagion, hospitalizations Y deaths of minority people and the presence, even minimal, of particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) in the air.

The study, led by Dr. Kevin Berg of the Centro Medico de la University of Colorado, determined that latinos in the areas studied with a level of contamination detectable are 31% more likely to get Covid-19 than whites.

In addition, they are 44% more likely to be hospitalized and 59% more likely to die from the coronavirus.

In comparison, among African Americans living in similar neighborhoods, these figures drop to a 4% increased risk of contagion and a 7% increase in the case of women. hospitalizations. Among the general population, risk of contracting the virus for living in an area with polluted air it is 5%, says the report.

At the national level, the Harvard University study, based on data from 3,000 counties with polluted air in the United States, found that this pollution increased by 8% the probability of get Covid-19.

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In their report, Berg and his colleagues compared current data from latinos affected by coronavirus in Colorado with data from latinos affected by polluted air from 2002 to 2016, so the figures mentioned may vary when more recent data is included. According to Berg, that will be the purpose of a subsequent study.

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For Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, director of CDPHE, the true causes of the disparate impact of the pandemic on latinos they are much deeper and more remote.

Centuries of structural discrimination in America’s housing system mean that people of color and low-income populations often live near highways and industrial zones where contamination it’s worse, ”said the official when presenting the report.

Ultimately, he said, the increase over the last two decades in industrial production in the most urbanized areas of Colorado and the western states of the country, combined with the intensification of fires forestry and the change climate, causes “millions of people” now to breathe “a heavy load of air contaminated by particles ”.

Once the study of CDPHE is approved for scientific publication, a second study will begin that, along with polluted air, will analyze the influence of socioeconomic status, population density and pre-existing medical conditions as factors that increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

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