As the EU and member states ratchet up extraordinary measures to contain the disease, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) issued a warning that citizens already afflicted by polluted air would be hit harder by the disease.
Doctors have linked hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases to higher mortality rates among those infected by the novel coronavirus, all of which can be caused by air pollution.
EPHA drew attention to a 2003 study of victims of the coronavirus that causes SARS, which found that patients in regions with moderate air pollution were 84% more likely to die than those in low pollution areas.
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