Pollution helps United States COVID-19 pandemic

This 24 November 2029 video says about itself:

Has capitalism turned the COVID-19 emergency into a disaster? | All Hail The Lockdown

We were in a crisis before COVID-19 – a crisis of capitalism. Join Ali Rae in this first episode of “All Hail The Lockdown” – a 5 part series exploring the complexities of our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this episode, Ali speaks with filmmaker and activist Astra Taylor, economist Aditya Chakrabortty and economic sociologist Linsey McGoey about disaster capitalism, philanthrocapitalism and how the structures of capitalism have left us ill-equipped to deal with the fallout of COVID-19.

From Washington University in St. Louis in the USA:

Pollution and pandemics: A dangerous mix

Research finds that as one goes, so goes the other — to a point

November 12, 2020

The United States may have set itself up for the spread of a pandemic without even knowing it.

According to new research from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, pollution may bear part of the blame for the rapid proliferation in the United States of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the spread of COVID-19.

The research, from the lab of Rajan Chakrabarty, associate professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, was published online ahead of print in the journal Science of The Total Environment.

When it comes to how ill someone gets after contracting COVID-19, medical professionals believe that a person’s health — having certain medical conditions, for example — can play a vital role. When it comes to how fast the virus can spread through the community, it turns out the health of the environment is directly correlated to the basic reproduction ratio R0, which denotes the expected number of people each sick person can infect.

The reproduction ratio R0 of COVID-19 associates directly with the long-term ambient PM2.5 exposure levels. And the presence of secondary inorganic components in PM2.5 only makes things worse, according to Chakrabarty.

“We checked for more than 40 confounding factors,” Chakrabarty said. Of all of those factors, “There was a strong, linear association between long-term PM2.5 exposure and R0.”

PM2.5 refers to ambient particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less; at that size, they can enter a person’s lungs and cause damage. For this reason, PM2.5 can be detrimental to respiratory health. But how this relates to the spread of COVID-19 through a population had yet to be explored.

Chakrabarty and his graduate student Payton Beeler, both aerosol researchers who have done previous coronavirus modeling, became interested in the relationship after two papers were published in quick succession. First, a July paper in the journal Science found that levels of susceptibility to COVID-19 is a driving factor for the pandemic; it is more important than temperature, which researchers initially thought might play an outsized role.

6 thoughts on “Pollution helps United States COVID-19 pandemic

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  3. I am writing to explain why I strongly oppose the recently announced COVID-19 proposal put forward by Joe Manchin and Mitt Romney, and to ask you to add your name to mine before this woefully inadequate bill gets to the floor of the Senate.

    The Senate’s indifference to the pain of the American people is disgraceful, and it cannot be allowed to continue. Now is the time to get our priorities right, and that starts with getting the American people the help they desperately need right now — starting with at least $1,200 in direct payments for working class adults and $500 for their children.

    It also means opposing the Manchin-Romney provision which grants 100% legal immunity to corporations whose irresponsibility has led to the deaths of hundreds of workers, and which will provide an incentive to corporations to avoid implementing the common sense safety standards needed to protect employees and consumers, making a bad situation worse.

    During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, when over half of our workers are living paycheck to paycheck, when one out of four workers are either unemployed or make less than $20,000 a year, when 92 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured, when tens of millions of people face eviction and hunger in America is exploding, it is unacceptable that this proposal does not even do what the CARES Act did and provide — at the very least — a $1,200 direct payment to working class American and $500 for their kids.

    Now, I understand that President-elect Biden has come out in support of direct payments of at least $1,200 and that it “may be still in play.” That’s good. And it makes it even more critical that we make our voices heard before any vote happens:

    Please sign my petition — tell the U.S. Senate to oppose the Manchin-Romney COVID-19 proposal unless it includes significant improvements, starting with $1,200 direct payments to working class families in this country and making sure we do not provide a liability shield to corporations that endanger the lives of their workers.

    The American people need help, and they need it now. If we can afford to give a $1 trillion tax break to the top 1% and large corporations, and $740 billion to the Pentagon, please don’t tell me we can’t give a $1,200 direct payment to the working people of this country.

    I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to significantly improve this bill, but I cannot do that alone. It will only happen if you make your voice heard as well.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


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