Consumer Affairs: Exposure to air pollution may increase COVID-19 severity

Study from UC researcher suggests consumers with respiratory issues vulnerable to harsher symptoms

Angelico Mendy, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the UC College of Medicine, is quoted in a story from Consumer Affairs about a new study from a team of researchers that looks at relationship between air pollution and severity of COVID-19 infections.

Patients who have preexisting respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and live in areas with high levels of air pollution have a greater chance of hospitalization if they contract COVID-19, according to the study.

“Our study didn’t find any correlation between COVID-19 and particulate matter in general, but we found something for people who had asthma and COPD,” said Mendy in the Consumer Affairs story. “People who have preexisting asthma and COPD, when they are exposed to higher levels of particulate matter, they are more likely to have severe COVID-19, severe enough to be hospitalized.” 

 Mendy led a team of researchers in an individual-level study which used a statistical model to evaluate the association between long-term exposure to particulate matter less or equal to 2.5 micrometers— it refers to a mixture of tiny particles and droplets in the air that are two-and-one half microns or less in width — and hospitalizations for COVID-19. Medical records allowed researchers to use patients’ zip codes for estimating their particulate exposure over a 10-year period.

Read the full Consumer Affairs story online.

Learn more about research from Angelico Mendy, MD, PhD.

Other media, national and international publications, also covered Mendy's research including:

US News and World Report: Dirty air could raise COVID-19 risks for people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Wiadomosci: Does it affect the course of the coronavirus infection? (Poland) High levels of air pollution increase the risk of hospitalization for Covid-19 (Italy)

NotiPress: Contamination could be a factor in causing complications in COVID-19 patients (Mexico)

Featured image of Angelico Mendy, MD, PhD, taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.