The APPG today launched its Air Quality Strategy to Reduce Coronavirus Infection during its first digital meeting, which heard from academics, from three universities, who presented research that showed higher severity and frequency of Covid cases caused by air pollution and examined how lockdown has reduced air pollution exposure.
Geraint Davies, the APPG Chair, presented the report, written using evidence from scientists, businesses and local authorities. It comprised of twelve sets of proposals including the continuation of home working, increasing spaces for pedestrian and cyclists, more frequent public transport services to avoid crowding, improvements in indoor air quality and the adoption of World Health Organisation air quality targets.
He noted that, in regards to research that air pollution is linked to more severe Covid cases and increased vulnerability of catching the virus, these proposals aim to avoid, or minimise, a second peak in infection as lockdown measures are reduced. Further, they set a clear pathway for a healthier, greener recovery.
Watch the Air Quality Strategy to Reduce Coronavirus virus event below:
Xiao Wu, doctoral student, and Rachel Nethery, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics from Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health presented their research into the impact of air pollution on the severity of COVID-19 to explain differences in COVID-19 mortality rates. It shows that a 1 micro-gramme per cubic metre increase in PM2.5 particulates equates to a significant increase in infection rates and an 8% increase in COVID deaths. The full presentation can be found here.
Jonathan Grigg, Professor of paediatric at Queen Mary University of London, presented research showing air pollution increases vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection, highlighting a biological link between air pollution and Covid-19 . His presentation can be found here.
Alastair Lewis, Professor of atmospheric chemistry at York University and Chair of the DEFRA Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG), presented extracts from AQEQ’s rapid evidence review on air pollution learning from Covid-19 lockdown. His presentation can be found here.