In the News
California Scientists Want to Know If Air Pollution Makes COVID-19 Worse
- Desert Sun
Environmental Health, Healthy Communities
Research – Quantitative
California has emerged as one of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus nationwide. Now, scientists across the Golden State are launching research to better understand the reasons, including studying whether air pollution from Los Angeles to the Central Valley is to blame.
Medical researchers at the Public Health Institute, an Oakland-based nonprofit, and UC San Francisco announced on Wednesday that they had secured funding from the California Air Resources Board for the first statewide study analyzing the relationship between air pollution and the virus. With COVID-19 appearing to target communities of color, the researchers plan to examine specifically how race plays a role in health outcomes.
“Air quality is a concern in many, many parts of California and, interestingly enough, in many of the same areas where we’re seeing high rates of COVID,” said Gina Solomon, a principal investigator at the Public Health Institute and the project’s lead researcher. “But whether there’s a causal relationship between air quality is the big question here.”
“We must find out how this exposure may be selectively subjecting Black Californians to more COVID-19 infections.” LaDonna Williams of the Bay Area environmental justice group, All Positives Possible.
If Solomon’s team is able to confirm earlier findings, she said, that could provide actionable evidence by adding “to the confidence in the scientific community that there’s something real going on there.”
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Originally published by Desert Sun
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