Coronavirus: Is There Something in the Air?

Maybe the three epicentres have a common factor which might explain the high death rates…

Fiona Cameron Lister
7 min readMar 7, 2020


Picture courtesy of JuJu41 Pixabay

Wuhan, China. Qom, Iran. Lombardy, Italy. The three most hard-hit places in terms of Coronavirus cases and deaths. Common sense says there should be a factor they all share. Could it be air quality?

The Health Risks of Bad Air

According to the World Health Authority air pollution causes 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

Bad air quality is linked to deaths from chronic ischemic heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute lower respiratory infection.

In terms of chronic health conditions, air pollution is also linked to asthma and respiratory infections. There is also a causal link to diabetes.

The main culprits are ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM). Many of these are a result of human activity putting pollutants into the atmosphere.

It is all too easy to cite a particular virus as a direct cause of death — it makes headlines. But if someone’s health is already compromised by chronic exposure to poor air, they are going to be much more affected by a…



Fiona Cameron Lister

Experienced British writer/copywriter in Italy | MWC semi-finalist| Loves words, history, humour, unusual subjects| Contact: