Boiling Point: These maps show how air pollution and COVID-19 can be a deadly mix

Michael Jerrett interviewed in the Los Angeles Times
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By Sammy Roth 


Black and Latino people are disproportionately vulnerable to [COVID-19] for several reasons. They’re more likely to live in crowded housing, more likely to suffer from preexisting conditions, less likely to have access to healthcare and more likely to work at jobs that can’t be done from home.

But air quality appears to be a critical factor for coronavirus risk, said Michael Jerrett, who chairs the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.

Jerrett is trying to determine exactly how critical. He’s working on two studies, one looking at COVID-19 severity among Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California and examining potential links between the quality of the air they breathe and the severity of their infection. The other involves comparing coronavirus death counts in different parts of Los Angeles County with levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is mostly emitted by cars and trucks, and also by gas-fired power plants.

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