NEW DELHI: Delhi recorded an average of 3,500 daily Covid-19 cases in September. In October, as on Friday, around 2,600 new cases have been recorded daily. But, with winter approaching, experts think that daily cases of Covid-19 may touch 15,000.

This can be due to multiple factors. First, the festival rush. Second, a recent research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) suggesting that pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) could create a suitable environment for transportation of the virus over greater distances than currently considered as safe.
Track the pollution level in your city
In fact, doctors said, the winter season may pose the biggest public health challenge faced in many years due to the combined impact of the pandemic and increase in pollution levels.
“With increasing pollution, there is going to be convergence of many ailments, for example, Covid-related pneumonia, influenza, exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease and coronary heart disease. It is possible that the health facilities may get overwhelmed,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis C-Doc hospital for diabetes and metabolic disease.
A Harvard study released in September found that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM2.5 is associated with an 8% increase in the Covid-19 death rate, said Dr Akshay Budhraja, consultant in the department of pulmonology at Aakash Healthcare.
“In India, we witness huge spikes in PM2.5 levels in winter. This means that mortality due to Covid-19 in our country may increase substantially if preventive measures aren’t followed strictly,” he added.
“Moreover, PM induces inflammation in lung cells and exposure to PM can increase the susceptibility and severity of Covid-19 patient symptoms,” stated the IJERPH research. SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus that causes Covid-19, has been shown to trigger an inflammatory storm that will be sustained in the case of pre-exposure to polluting agents, it added.
Scientists said inhalation transported the particles deep into the lungs, especially those smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5 and ultrafine particles) which may allow the virus to develop within the respiratory tract and to cause infections.
Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, critical care and pulmonary medicine at Apollo Hospital, said many Covid-19 patients develop early stage pulmonary-fibrosis or scarring of the pulmonary tissues. “This results in decreased pulmonary functions. Air pollution consisting of various gases and suspending particles may cause further worsening of their respiratory symptoms which may have long-term impact on lung function,” he said.
The good thing is that wearing masks can help reduce the risk of exposure to both pollution and Covid-19 virus, Dr Misra of Fortis C-Doc said. He added that vulnerable groups such as people suffering from diabetes, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should take flu and pneumonia shots and stay away from festival crowds to reduce the risk of getting infection.
Professor and head of community medicine at Safdarjung Hospital Dr Jugal Kishore advised people to avoid unnecessary outings. “Pollution and Covid-19 pandemic is a lethal combination. One should avoid going out to get exposed to them,” he said.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here