More polluted areas linked to higher COVID-19 spread, study says

More polluted areas linked to higher COVID-19 spread, study says


COVID-19 spreads at higher rates in regions in the U.S. where people are exposed to the worst pollution, a new study says.

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that the quality of the environment appears to be a strong indicator that cases will increase more quickly in a region, according to a report in the journal Science of The Total Environment.

For the study, Dr. Rajan Chakrabarty and his colleagues looked at more than 43 factors — including population density, age distribution and how long the area took to order lockdowns — in various cities and towns throughout the nation.

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“I was thinking, why, in the majority of the U.S. states, have we had such a rapid spread of the virus?” Chakrabarty, an assistant professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering, said in a statement.

The team decided to zero in on air quality after recognizing a possible link between the R rate — which estimates the

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