The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a serious public health concern worldwide. Although most regions of the world have been affected by the virus, some regions are more affected than others in terms of infections and death rates. The exact reasons for these variations are not yet clear.
The results of most of the studies reviewed here demonstrate that short- and long-term exposure to air pollution, especially PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), can contribute significantly to higher rates of infections and mortality, and to a lesser extent also PM10. A significant correlation between air pollution, infections and mortality from COVID-19 has been found in some countries around the world.
Available data indicate that exposure to air pollution may influence virus transmission. In addition, this exposure may increase vulnerability and have a detrimental effect on the prognosis of patients affected by infections such as COVID-19.
The hypothesis that the new coronavirus could take advantage of the “highways” formed by atmospheric particles is a challenging point that, in our opinion, deserves more immediate and in-depth experimental investigations. It is hoped that prompt action will be taken to clarify the dynamics involved in the current pandemic.