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Current Affairs

Exposure to wildfire smoke linked to higher Covid-19

Date: 19 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new research by Desert Research Institute (DRI) of US has found that inhaling gases emitted during wildfires can make an individual susceptible to Covid-19.

 

Background

As the disease is ravaging the globe, new research regarding it is emerging. This has given new insights into working of human body.

 

Details

  • The research primarily focused on the wildfire smokes of western US that took place in 2020. There was a study to identify any effect on rise in cases in Nevada,

  • The study also made efforts to find relation between PM 2.5 present in wildfire smoke with high SARS CoV-2 positivity rate.

  • It is assumed that the material in the smoke was responsible for 17.7 percent increase in Covid-19 cases that took place in the region.

  • The increase in PM 2.5 was evident in metropolitan cities of San Francisco. However, the duration and intensity was lower in comparison.

 

PM 2.5

  • Pollutant particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller in size are called as Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5. Their source can be both natural and anthropogenic.

  • These particles will have large impact on human health, precipitation, climate, food security, temperature and other phenomenon.

 

Sources

  • Dust storms blowing from deserts and dry areas.

  • Smoke from unburned fuel coming out of fossil fuel engines.

  • Burning of stubble in fields.

  • Volcanic eruptions.

  • Forest fires and dump yard fires.

 

 

Wildfires

  • It is an unplanned and unwanted burning of vegetation in a forested area. It may take place naturally like lightning or human actions.

  • They are most common in dry areas such as savannahs, bushlands of Australia and some dry deciduous areas of India and rest of the world.