Decreasing pollution levels due to reduced vehicle movements and industrial activity is one of the factors that has slowed the spread of the coronavirus, said Dr Arvind Kumar, president of the Center for Thoracic Surgery of the Sir Gangaram hospital.
“In the long term, as a direct result (of containment), the decrease in pollution is one of the factors that has slowed the spread of the virus,” said Dr Kumar.
“Deaths from COVID-19 across the world have shown that people with pre-existing illnesses have higher mortality. So pollution is the root cause of such illnesses and such illnesses contribute to COVID infection.” , he added.
He said the link between air pollution and an increase in lung disease, hypertension, paralysis and many other ailments has already been established in various studies.
“Air pollution leads to higher incidents of lung disease. The coronavirus is just an addition to the list of infections to which people with lung disease are prone,” said Dr Kumar.
The Central Pollution Control Board observed a satisfactory reduction in PM 2.5 and PM 10 in New Delhi, which is one of the areas most affected by pollution.
Dr Kumar said: “Admissions for heart disease, paralysis, COPD, asthma, all acute emergencies have decreased by at least 30-40 pc. It is an established fact that the direct relationship between the 2.5 plus high levels and incidents of cardiac arrests. Every time there is a 10 mg increase in PM 2.5, there is a consequent increase in cardiac mortality. “
According to the WHO, 4.2 million deaths each year are due to exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution. It also indicates that 25 pc of all heart disease deaths are attributable to air pollution. Air pollution causes 2.4 million deaths from heart disease each year.
The country will soon enter its third phase of extended lockdown from May 4, which is due to continue for two more weeks. However, the restrictions should depend on the red, orange and green zones.
The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India has risen to 39,980, including 28,046 active cases, 10,633 recovered / discharged / migrated and 1,301 deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Sunday.