There has been an emerging link between air pollution and deaths from COVID-19. Harvard researchers recently released a study that looked at the link between long-term air pollution exposure and deaths as the result of the virus. They found that if a person lives for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), then they’re 15 percent more likely to die from the virus than someone in an area with less fine particulate pollution.
Despite this information, the Trump administration decided not to strengthen regulation of industrial soot emissions. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, said that the scientific evidence supporting stricter controls on the PM 2.5 particles was insufficient. While the decision received praise from Republican lawmakers, oil companies and manufactures, public health experts highlight that the work of the EPA’s own officials show that PM 2.5 pollution causes tens of thousands premature deaths every year and that’s not including the number of deaths from COVID-19.
In Britain, their Office of National Statistics indicated that the number of deaths in the country could be at least 10 percent higher than the official number. This is because the official numbers don’t take into account the people who have died in nursing homes or in their own homes. It’s estimated that at least nearly 1,000 nursing home deaths have not been counted in the numbers according to Care England, which is a charity that represents independent care agencies. Critics of the government’s response state that there hasn’t been enough focus on nursing home industry. Instead, they say the majority of it has been geared to the National Health Service and hospitals. Experts point to the number of deaths from all causes as one indication that there are a number of deaths not being counted. For the time period of March 28 to April 3, more than 16,000 people died in Britain, which is almost 6,000 more than average for this time of year.