Can air carry the coronavirus and transmit Covid-19?

Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, many countries have taken quarantine measures to limit citizens’ exits to the bare minimum. China was the first country to declare quarantine. In Europe, Italy and many other countries have also taken this step. France has been in quarantine since Tuesday March 17, 2020.

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The quarantine which aims to enforce social distancing must make it possible to reduce contaminations of Covid-19 between individuals and avoid saturation of hospitals due to too large a number of patients arriving simultaneously. Staying at home is therefore very important for yourself but also and above all to protect vulnerable people.

Quarantine and air pollution

The quarantine, and therefore indirectly the coronavirus, allowed an interesting phenomenon which is the drastic reduction of atmospheric pollution (concentration of NO2, fine particles…). For information, air pollution is responsible for around 7 million deaths worldwide each year. Air pollution is also responsible for the worsening or development of many respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Meersens used air quality data to model and compare the maximum NO2 concentration in Western Europe from Tuesday March 17 to Saturday March 21, 2020 (corresponding to the start of quarantine in France and Belgium [début 18 mars]) and compare these values ​​with those recorded one year ago today (from Tuesday March 20 to Saturday March 24, 2019). For example, after only a few days of quarantine in France and Belgium a drop in NO2 concentration is already observable.

Comparison of maximum NO2 concentrations in Western Europe over a week from Tuesday to Saturday in March 2019 and March 2020 (during quarantine)

It is the concentrations of NO2 which are presented because this major pollutant is very dependent on human activities (combustion of fossil fuels) including in particular road traffic. This gas can promote inflammation of the airways and increase bronchial symptoms in asthmatics and cause a decrease in lung function.

As a result of the reduction in human activities due to the quarantine of Covid-19, air quality has been greatly improved, and this level of air quality may reduce mortality or morbidity due to this major environmental problem.

Air Pollution, Virus Transport and Contamination

Pollution abatement is also of major interest as ongoing studies tend to show that there is a strong correlation between air quality and infections with respiratory viruses such as coronavirus. Pollution peaks accelerate and intensify the spread of the virus via susceptible people. In particular, scientists are studying this correlation between the high presence of particles in the Pô plain in Italy (a highly polluted area) and the very high number of cases of coronavirus there.

Viruses could bind to fine particles or pollen and remain in the air under viable conditions for several hours or even days and thus infect the population much faster.

In France, air pollution was exceptionally low in February 2020 due to the prolonged combination of heavy rainfall and high winds. However, with spring and good weather, as well as the arrival of pollen, weather conditions may no longer be conducive to continuing to disperse the pollution. Quarantine or measures to limit air pollution will therefore be important to reduce this potential vector of the virus, which alone causes a not inconsiderable number of premature deaths!

In addition, it should be noted that the environment (as a whole) plays an indirect but not negligible role on the impact of the coronavirus on health. Indeed, age leads to higher mortality from the virus, but people with chronic diseases are also more vulnerable, and a degraded environment (pollution…) and lifestyle (junk food, stress, sedentary lifestyle…) can lead to the development of chronic diseases (cardiovascular, respiratory, cancers…).

Tips for the quarantine of Covid-19 :

-Aerate your interior regularly because indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air.

-Take the time to cook raw produce and vegetables Filling up on vitamins and nutrients will help you stay in shape.

-Do not go out unless it is necessary (a fresh baguette of bread every day is not a necessity) to avoid taking a risk to your health and that of your loved ones.

-Take breaks and get up regularly, a sedentary lifestyle coupled with a poor diet are risk factors for health.

-Keep a clean interior as the virus can stay alive on inert surfaces (don’t forget to clean handles, mobile phones, clothes after your outings…).

Thus by respecting the quarantine and barrier gestures you greatly reduce the risk of being infected with Covid-19 disease but also of infecting others. Moreover, you contribute to the reduction of pollution, thus limiting a vector of the epidemic but also of premature mortality in the long term.

Don’t forget to air out your home to enjoy this cleaner than usual air. To take time for yourself, your family or for all the tasks you never have time to do. Being confined doesn’t only have its downsides!

How Meersens can help you!

Being confined to your home means being even more vigilant about the quality of your environment and your food. With the Meersensd app, become actor of your health. Decrypt your environment and your food; access real-time community alerts; take the right steps for a healthier life.
Make the invisible visible for a healthier life.

Other articles related to the coronavirus:

Quarantine: the right steps to protect your health and that of your loved ones

The Coronavirus Covid-19: what are the symptoms and real risks?

Solution Meersens - Santé environnementale

Meersens est une entreprise à impact positif dans le domaine de la santé environnementale, mobilisée pour créer un avenir durable, permettant d’atténuer les risques environnementaux et de contribuer positivement à la santé et au bien-être des parties prenantes – en offrant une surveillance et une prévention environnementales personnalisées.

Meersens offre une vision et une surveillance multi-polluants à 360°, en temps réel, historique et prédictive, pour n’importe quel lieu, avec une grande précision, vous permettant d’atténuer les risques et de prendre de meilleures décisions.

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