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The researchers were able to show that more severe reactions to the virus were associated with higher levels of long-term exposure to air contaminants.

For every 25 per cent increase in fine particles a patient had been exposed to, the chance of being admitted to hospital after being infected with COVID-19 increased by six per cent and the odds of being admitted into an ICU increased nine per cent. The team found no links between death rates and particulate exposure.

The effects were smaller for nitrogen dioxide.

But for ground-level ozone, the study found correlations for every 25 per cent increase in exposure were much higher. The chances of hospital admission increased 15 per cent. Intensive care admissions increased 30 per cent and death rates went up 18 per cent.

"Of those people who were already infected, we observed some of them who were exposed to higher air pollution levels prior to their infection have a higher probability of worse outcomes," Chen said.

Couldn't this be the effect of the air pollution weakening your lungs over time

Chen cautioned the study doesn't establish that the three pollutants actually caused the worsening COVID-19 outcomes. But it wouldn't be a surprise. Those contaminants are all known to irritate lungs and lung function, and COVID-19 is a pulmonary disease.

"We know this virus attacks our pulmonary system," she said. "It's possible that being exposed to more air pollution prior to infection makes you more susceptible."

My wife is having a tough time with Covid and she's always had weak lungs with a long list of pneumonia in the past. Our air quality seems not that bad better than Toronto of course. I guess it's more the other way around in our case, sensitive lungs. Any smoke from people burning yard waste or campfire in the evening already has her reaching for the inhaler.

She is finally doing a bit better, getting out of bed a couple times a day for a big trip to the kitchen. Get some food, and lose it again an hour later :/ Still too weak too do anything else. We got an O2 meter as well now to complete out home monitoring set lol. Blood pressure, temperature, O2 saturation, heart rate, can't measure dehydration yet cracked lips are a good tell... Oxygen level is down but not dangerous yet, mild hypoxemia, avg 92% reading.

It got cold again, down to 6c last night and only 14c the past couple days. Cool fresh air does help. That microcell last Saturday did efficiently clear the air. Did leave a lot of destruction behind though.

While parts of the world are 'done' with the pandemice

The COVID-19 pandemic is "most certainly not over," the head of the World Health Organization warned Sunday, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the Omicron wave. He told governments that "we lower our guard at our peril."

The UN health agency's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for opening of the WHO's annual meeting that "declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus." He also noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven't been vaccinated.

"Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions, and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted," he added.

Reported deaths are rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage, he said, and only 57 countries -- almost all of them wealthy -- have vaccinated 70% of their people.

While the world's vaccine supply has improved, there is "insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines" in some countries, gaps in "operational or financial capacity" in others, he said.

"In all, we see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation," Tedros said. "The pandemic will not magically disappear, but we can end it."

I doubt we can end it with vaccines, it certainly didn't end it here. We're at 82% fully vaccinated. It still spreads, you still catch it, can still get very sick. Maybe the unvaccinated asymptomatic cases keep it circulating. I've heard of more cases among friends and family this year than since the pandemic started.