Air pollution arguably started when humans first learned how to harness the power of fire, and it became the modern curse of industry, automobiles, and power plants.
Today, in the time of COVID-19, dirty air is even more dangerous to our health. Not only has the pandemic caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone, but, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), many of the pre-existing conditions that put some segments of the population at greater risk of serious complications from COVID may be linked to long-term exposure to air pollution.
Using air pollution data from 2000-2016, Findcare created a map of air pollution by county in the United States. Based on fine particulate matter pollution — particles mixed with liquid droplets in the air typically created by cars, industry, and power plants that can be inhaled —Findcare ranked the top 10 counties according to their average PM2.5 pollution.
A study by scientists at Harvard University looked at whether long-term average exposure to fine particulate matte was associated with a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 in the United States. By comparing PM2.5 data to the Johns Hopkins University count of COVID-19 deaths in more than 3,000 counties in the spring of 2020, they found long-term average exposure to this type of pollution was associated with worse outcomes from COVID-19.