Air Pollution Leads To An Increase In COVID Deaths, According To Harvard University Study, Experts Say ’Pollution Can Hinder Country’s COVID Fight’
Highlights
  • 1 point increase in PM 2.5 leads to 8% increase in COVID-19 deaths: Study
  • The study was done by researchers at Harvard University in the US
  • This is not the first study that depicts link between pollution & COVID

New Delhi: A Harvard University study published recently says that a small increase in long term exposure to PM2.5, the smallest particle that causes a lot of harm to human health can also lead to large increase in COVID-19 related death rate. The study by researchers at Harvard University in the US in September showed that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 is associated with an 8 per cent increase in the COVID-19 death rate.

Speaking to the news agency PTI, Xiao Wu, corresponding author of the Harvard study said, “Given the current limited literature, the surge of PM2.5 level in Delhi may be associated with increased COVID-19 cases. Although the literature is relatively sparse at this stage.”

Also Read: Delhi Fighting A Dual Battle Of Coronavirus And Air Pollution, Warn Experts

He also said the relationship between long-term air pollution and COVID-19 has been documented in many studies, which indicate that adverse health impacts of air pollution can make people prone to the infection or exacerbate the severity of COVID-19 symptoms once infected.

This is not the first time a global study emphasises on the link between air pollution and COVID-19, earlier in April, a study by the University of Cambridge also found an association between living in an area of England with high levels of air pollution and the severity of COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

NDTV speaks with experts to know more about the link between air pollution and COVID-19 and how increasing levels of pollution in India can hinder country’s fight against COVID-19.

Also Read: Air Pollution Rises In Delhi-NCR, Gurugram Citizens Call For Action Against Waste Burning And Tackle It Like COVID-19

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says,

Air pollution will lead to an increase in number of coronavirus cases. There is data based on modeling and observational data from Italy and China. Studies have suggested that even a 1-point rise in PM 2.5 levels can led to 6-9 per cent rise in COVID cases.

He further added that both winter and pollution combined can lead to spike in number of COVID cases in the country. Those people who have high risk need to be more vigilant. He added,

Higher risk people need to avoid areas where air quality is poor as areas where air quality is bad are more vulnerable areas and are likely to have more risk of coronavirus transmission.

Commenting on the Harvard study Dr Arvind Kumar, Founder, Lung Care Foundation said that this is not the first time such a data has come up which depicts the link between air pollution and COVID death rates. He added,

The data depicting the link between air pollution and COVID and as well as its mortality rate has been emerging for past few months now. The first report has come from China and then there were similar kind of reports from Italy, and a combined study from England and France that depicted a co-relation between air pollution and COVID mortality rate. These studies have shown that pollution affected communities have higher chance of getting COVID as compared to people living in less polluted environment and secondly if the people of polluted areas get COVID they have higher chance of dying as compared to ones living in non-polluted areas.

Also Read: “Respiratory Viruses Known To Thrive During Winters,” Warns Health Minister In His Weekly Address, Here Are Other Takeaways

Talking about how these studies have a significant role in India’s COVID fight, Mr Kumar added,

We are now approaching towards a season where there is always pollution problems. It is like a year-round issue and we see a rise in pollution levels always and combined with the fact that we also have festival season coming and we anyways have COVID pandemic going – all this together can make the situation worse for our country. What we need is both people and authorities to be vigilant about these facts and come up with ways to protect the community in large.

Raghav Chadha, Senior Leader from Aam Aadmi Party said that the Delhi Government is absolutely aware about these studies and trying to do its bit to control the situation and added,

It is a common fact that both COVID-19 and Air Pollution infects the respiratory health of an individual. Air Pollution is a year-round issue but this time that combined with the pandemic the country is dealing with makes matters worse. All this doctors have been highlighting since past few months that this lethal cocktail of COVID-19 and Air Pollution can prove to be very very fatal. What Harvard study has suggested that even a 1-point increase in PM 2.5 levels can lead to an increase of 6 to 9 per cent mortality rate due to COVID-19, is a very frightening figure. The government of Delhi has taken cognisance of it and therefore we are doing what we can in improving the situation in Delhi.

Further talking about how Delhi has managed to control COVID-19 infection he added,

The World Health Organisation has suggested that in order to consider COVID-19 outbreak to be under control, you need to have an infection rate of 5 per cent for a period of 14 days. The government of Delhi along with the people have worked very hard to bring down this number and now the infection rate in the city has been shifting between 4 – 8 per cent from past 14 days. The cases in the city have started to go up recently but again we are also doing lot many tests and therefore I say the infection rate has been ranging between 4 to 8 per cent in the city.

Air Pollution, Mr Chadha added, “Air Pollution is not a Delhi based issue, it is a north India based problem and therefore we need bigger solutions.”

Talking about the government decision taken on Monday (October 26) to bring in a new law to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR and the problem of Stubble Burning in the country, Chandra Bhushan, CEO, International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST) said,

I am not too sure about what that new law will be as there are already some laws in place that penalises stubble burning and it is illegal in Punjab and Haryana but still we see cases of stubble burning every now and then. So, I am not sure how this law will be different from the one which we have currently and how it will ensure that on ground the reality is changed. I don’t think a cohesive law will make a difference in air pollution problem in our country, I think what is needed is technological innovations, which can also help farmers to dispose off stubble properly.

Also Read: Air Pollution Killed Nearly 5 Lakh Newborns Worldwide, Over 1 Lakh In India In 2019: State Of Global Air 2020 Report

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

11,68,41,438Cases
4,81,16,233Active
6,61,32,035Recovered
25,93,170Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 192 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 11,68,41,438 and 25,93,170 have died; 4,81,16,233 are active cases and 6,61,32,035 have recovered as on March 8, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

1,12,29,398 18599Cases
1,88,747 4224Active
1,08,82,798 14278Recovered
1,57,853 97Deaths
In India, there are 1,12,29,398 confirmed cases including 1,57,853 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,88,747 and 1,08,82,798 have recovered as on March 8, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Mumbai45,478
Thane13,660
Pune9,920
Mumbai Suburban5,363
Aurangabad1,974
Nashik1,575
Raigad1,462
Palghar1,421
Solapur1,291
Jalgaon1,039
Akola757
Nagpur692
Kolhapur646
Satara629
Ratnagiri350
Amravati291
Dhule228
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Ahmednagar190
Nanded176
Yavatmal150
Sangli145
Latur139
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Buldhana88
Parbhani78
gondia69
Beed54
Nandurbar42
Gadchiroli42
Bhandara41
Chandrapur32
Washim13
Wardha11

22,19,727 11,141

99,205 5,090

20,68,044 6,013

52,478 38

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kasaragod333
Palakkad224
Malappuram119
Kollam118
Thrissur106
Thiruvananthapuram104
Pathanamthitta98
Kozhikode90
Alappuzha76
Kottayam73
Ernakulam60
Idukki40
Wayanad36

10,77,327 2,100

41,162 1,952

10,31,865 4,039

4,300 13

DistrictCases
Udupi1,176
Kalaburagi669
Yadgir538
Bengaluru Urban529
Raichur369
Mandya346
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Hassan205
Davangere204
Vijayapura201
Dakshina Kannada179
Chikkaballapura149
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Uttara Kannada95
Shivamogga67
Dharwad61
Ballari60
Gadag45
Bengaluru Rural40
Tumakuru36
Kolar29
Haveri24
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Koppal5
Kodagu4
Ramanagara3
Chamarajanagara0

9,55,015 622

6,881 268

9,35,772 351

12,362 3

DistrictCases
Kurnool795
Krishna557
Guntur511
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Chittoor319
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Y.S.R.205
West Godavari199
Srikakulam183
Prakasam104
Visakhapatnam103
Vizianagaram23

8,90,692 136

998 77

8,82,520 58

7,174 1

DistrictCases
Chennai23,324
Chengalpattu1,314
Thiruvallur774
Villupuram509
Kanchipuram503
Tiruvannamalai496
Cuddalore477
Ariyalur444
Tirunelveli433
Tuticorin333
Kallakurichi324
Madurai322
Salem258
Coimbatore188
Virudhunagar185
Dindigul175
Perambalur133
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Ramanathapuram119
Tiruppur116
Kanniyakumari110
Tenkasi103
Nagapattinam99
Karur88
Namakkal83
Erode75
Vellore71
Thiruvarur67
Pudukkottai53
Sivaganga46
Tirupathur45
Krishnagiri43
The Nilgiris17
Dharmapuri15

8,55,121 567

3,997 45

8,38,606 521

12,518 1

DistrictCases
North West5,463
Central4,817
West4,768
New Delhi3,405
North3,059
East2,472
South East2,446
South West2,391
South2,329
North East1,914
Shahdara1,580

6,41,101 286

1,803 24

6,28,377 260

10,921 2

DistrictCases
Gautam Buddha Nagar1,119
Agra933
Ghaziabad794
Meerut504
Lucknow386
Saharanpur298
Kanpur Nagar286
Moradabad252
Varanasi243
Hapur225
Aligarh215
Basti214
Amethi206
Rampur203
Jaunpur194
Firozabad190
Barabanki168
Gorakhpur166
Bulandshahr166
Siddharth Nagar159
Ghazipur159
Bijnor157
Deoria143
Azamgarh138
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Mathura129
Ayodhya120
Muzaffarnagar117
Sambhal116
Sultanpur97
Ambedkar Nagar92
Maharajganj85
Amroha80
Rae Bareli78
Bahraich73
Kheri72
Kannauj69
Baghpat68
Kushi Nagar67
Bhadohi60
Ballia60
Gonda59
Etah52
Hardoi49
Balrampur49
Mau48
Mainpuri46
Etawah46
Hathras43
Unnao42
Jalaun41
Jhansi41
Shamli40
Chandauli38
Auraiya37
Farrukhabad36
Sitapur32
Prayagraj30
Banda27
Shahjahanpur25
Shravasti23
Budaun23
Mirzapur22
Bareilly17
Kasganj16
Pratapgarh15
Pilibhit15
Sonbhadra10
Kaushambi6
Kanpur Dehat4
Chitrakoot4
Lalitpur3
Hamirpur3
Mahoba3
Fatehpur3

6,04,279 115

1,647 84

5,93,895 191

8,737 8

DistrictCases
Kolkata2,777
Howrah1,435
24 Paraganas North1,031
Hooghly604
24 Paraganas South281
Maldah235
Dinajpur Uttar216
Coochbehar210
Birbhum206
Medinipur West159
Medinipur East153
Nadia139
Purba Bardhaman130
Murshidabad125
Bankura116
Darjeeling97
Jalpaiguri88
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purulia66
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Alipurduar39
Kalimpong18
Jhargram9

5,76,623 188

3,163 50

5,63,182 237

10,278 1

DistrictCases
Ganjam581
Jajapur322
Khordha238
Baleshwar190
Kendrapara164
Cuttack155
Bhadrak137
Balangir129
Puri103
Sundargarh102
Jagatsinghapur91
Nayagarh86
Mayurbhanj73
Nuapada69
Gajapati61
Dhenkanal36
Boudh34
Kendujhar34
Deogarh33
Kalahandi33
Sonepur29
Kandhamal28
Anugul26
Malkangiri20
Bargarh16
Koraput16
Sambalpur16
Jharsuguda8
Nabarangpur2
Rayagada2

3,37,744 70

747 20

3,35,080 90

1,917

DistrictCases
Jaipur2,177
Jodhpur1,748
Udaipur724
Bharatpur563
Kota503
Nagaur500
Ajmer379
Dungarpur374
Pali352
Jhalawar329
Bhilwara250
Sikar231
Chittorgarh188
Tonk171
Jalore164
Rajsamand140
Sirohi130
Bikaner112
Banswara91
Alwar90
Churu81
Jhunjhunu64
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Baran59
Jaisalmer53
Barmer34
Hanumangarh31
SawaiMadhopur26
Karauli17
Pratapgarh14
Ganganagar8
Bundi5

3,21,532 176

1,755 52

3,16,988 124

2,789

DistrictCases
Bilaspur100
Korba100
Mungeli87
Baloda Bazar85
Jashpur77
Janjgir-Champa56
Mahasamund54
Rajnandgaon52
Kabirdham52
Raigarh47
Raipur46
Balod41
Korea39
Durg31
Bemetara21
Kanker19
Balrampur17
Surguja14
Gariyaband10
Surajpur9
Dhamtari6
Bijapur2
Bastar2
Dantewada0
Kondagaon0
Narayanpur0
Sukma0

3,14,320 222

2,820 99

3,07,642 120

3,858 3

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2,475
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Jagitial77
Nizamabad76
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Mancherial43
YadadriBhuvanagiri40
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Vikarabad40
Nalgonda33
Warangal Urban32
Mahabubnagar30
Sangareddy26
Khammam26
Adilabad22
Nirmal21
Karimnagar17
RajannaSircilla16
Medak11
Kamareddy11
Mahabubabad10
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Nagarkurnool8
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Jangoan8
Siddipet7
Peddapalli5
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Warangal Rural4
Mulugu3
Narayanpet3
Wanaparthy1

3,00,011 111

1,807 79

2,96,562 189

1,642 1

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17,125
Surat2,311
Vadodara1,555
Gandhinagar410
Mahesana159
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Rajkot135
Arvalli134
Mahisagar125
Anand107
PanchMahals107
Patan105
SabarKantha101
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Jamnagar63
Bharuch56
Botad55
Surendranagar55
Valsad47
GirSomnath45
Dohad43
Chhotaudepur37
Naysari35
Junagadh31
Narmada25
DevbhumiDwarka22
Amreli16
Porbandar11
Tapi6
Dang5
Morbi4

2,73,386 575

3,140 115

2,65,831 459

4,415 1

DistrictCases
Gurugram2,950
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Rohtak145
Palwal120
Jhajjar114
Karnal104
Hisar98
Ambala93
Panipat78
Nuh68
Bhiwani60
Rewari56
Kurukshetra55
Sirsa50
Kaithal48
Mahendragarh47
CharkiDadri43
Panchkula39
Fatehabad38
Jind38
Yamunanagar19

2,72,520 305

2,031 133

2,67,433 172

3,056

DistrictCases
Indore3,839
Bhopal1,880
Ujjain799
Burhanpur351
Neemuch319
Jabalpur276
East Nimar266
Sagar228
Gwalior211
Khargone196
Dewas140
Dhar132
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Bhind87
Raisen71
Barwani60
Ratlam51
Rewa39
Shajapur39
Hoshangabad37
Vidisha37
Chhatarpur35
Betul35
Rajgarh31
Dindori29
Sheopur26
Damoh26
Satna24
Anuppur22
Panna20
Tikamgarh18
Sidhi17
Narsinghpur17
Chhindwara16
Agar Malwa15
Mandla15
Shivpuri15
Jhabua14
Shandol14
Singrauli13
Ashoknagar13
Datia12
Sehore12
Umaria10
Balaghat9
Guna8
Harda4
Alirajpur3
Katni3
Seoni2
Niwari0

2,64,643 429

3,606 79

2,57,166 347

3,871 3

DistrictCases
Patna279
Bhagalpur266
Rohtas256
Khagaria253
Begusarai243
Madhubani199
Munger188
Jehanabad178
Katihar175
Darbhanga143
Samastipur139
Siwan139
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Banka134
Buxar134
Nalanda123
Gopalganj123
Nawada122
Sheikhpura118
Gaya115
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Bhojpur103
Saran101
Muzaffarpur96
Saharsa88
Supaul87
Vaishali87
Madhepura82
Kishanganj75
Aurangabad75
Sitamarhi73
Lakhisarai72
Araria68
Pashchim Champaran57
Arwal52
Jamui47
Sheohar20

2,62,758 30

313 21

2,60,899 50

1,546 1

DistrictCases
Kamrup Metro276
Golaghat203
Nagaon143
Hojai89
Dima Hasao86
Karimganj85
Tinsukia84
Cachar80
Dibrugarh61
Hailakandi57
Lakhimpur57
Marigaon50
Dhemaji47
Kamrup42
Kokrajhar37
Dhubri30
Charaideo29
Barpeta28
Udalguri28
Sonitpur27
Jorhat24
Nalbari23
Darrang20
Sivasagar20
Goalpara19
Biswanath16
Baksa14
KarbiAnglong13
Bongaigaon12
Chirang6
West KarbiAnglong5
South SalmaraMancachar4
Majuli2

2,17,668 19

1,627 2

2,14,947 17

1,094

DistrictCases
Amritsar485
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Tarn Taran163
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
S.A.S Nagar137
Patiala132
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Pathankot86
Rupnagar (Ropar)74
Faridkot74
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Moga65
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Firozepur50
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Barnala25

1,88,391 1,043

7,497 333

1,74,967 693

5,927 17

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Srinagar300
Kulgam295
Baramulla271
Shopian255
Kupwara231
Bandipora175
Udhampur155
Ramban151
Jammu138
Budgam110
Pulwama108
Kathua53
Rajouri39
Ganderbal37
Poonch35
Doda27
Reasi26
Samba25
Kishtwar10
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0

1,27,044 112

892 10

1,24,190 101

1,962 1

DistrictCases
East Singhbum170
Ranchi148
Hazaribagh110
Garhwa80
Ramgarh75
Koderma58
Simdega48
Dhanbad32
Gumla28
Palamu27
West Singhbhum21
SaraikelaKharsawan20
Giridih19
Bokaro16
Latehar14
Khunti10
Lohardaga8
Deoghar5
Dumka5
Pakur4
Jamtara2
Godda2
Chatra1
Sahebganj0

1,20,259 42

463 2

1,18,703 38

1,093 2

DistrictCases
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Tehri Garhwal110
Haridwar94
Udam Singh Nagar83
Almora71
Champawat45
Pithoragarh43
Chamoli36
PauriGarhwal36
Bageshwar31
Rudraprayag30
Uttar Kashi24

97,422 59

632 36

95,095 22

1,695 1

DistrictCases
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Una41
Solan32
Chamba29
Bilaspur21
Mandi21
Sirmaur11
Shimla10
Kullu4
Kinnaur2
Lahaul And Spiti0

59,118 59

614 25

57,507 34

997

DistrictCases
South Goa69
North Goa57

55,409 48

688 12

53,922 60

799

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Mahe4
Karaikal2
Yanam0

39,868 25

176 3

39,022 22

670

DistrictCases
Dhalai196
Sepahijala174
Gomati74
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45
Khowai24
North Tripura14

33,424

30 0

33,003

391

DistrictCases
Churachandpur32
Kangpokpi26
Imphal West21
Thoubal18
Imphal East10
Tengnoupal9
Bishnupur7
Senapati6
Chandel5
Kamjong5
Ukhrul4
Jiribam3
Pherzawl3
Kakching2
Tamenglong2
Noney1

29,291 3

28 3

28,890 6

373

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

22,318 80

710 35

21,253 45

355

DistrictCases
Changlang31
Papum Pare8
Lohit3
Namsai2
West Siang1
East Siang1
Upper Siang1
Tawang1
PakkeKessang1
West Kameng0
Upper Subansiri0
Tirap0
Siang0
Shi Yomi0
Anjaw0
Lower Subansiri0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Longding0
Leparada0
KurungKumey0
KraDaadi0
Kamle0
East Kameng0
Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0

16,839

3 0

16,780

56

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
West Garo Hills5
South West Garo Hills4
North Garo Hills1
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Khasi Hills0

13,972 2

13 1

13,811 1

148

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Mon8
Kohima7
Kiphire3
Tuensang3
Peren2
Phek1
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

12,217 6

20 5

12,106 1

91

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

9,831 1

44 0

9,657 1

130

DistrictCases
East District3
South District3
North District0
West District0

6,174 7

50 6

5,989 1

135

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

5,024

7 0

4,955

62

DistrictCases
Kolasib11
Aizawl10
Mamit8
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Saitual1
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Saiha0
Serchhip0

4,428

8 1

4,410 1

10

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

3,416 7

12 7

3,402

2

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

486 13

158 1

327 14

1

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Providing the details of 1,19,612 doctors, Bihar Health Minister said, the state has 40,100 allopathic physicians, 33,922 ayurvedic doctors, 34,257 homoeopathic doctors, 5,203 unani doctors and 6130 dentists