The deadly mix of Covid-19, air pollution, and inequality, explained

By Lois Parshley

Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting black and brown communities in New York and elsewhere. Air pollution seems to be one reason why.

Air pollution is down across the United States right now as car and truck emissions plummet from mass social distancing. But decades of high levels of pollutants like particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide have had a chronically negative impact on health.

Millions of Americans currently have conditions, like hypertension and asthma, that can be connected to air pollution. And those same diseases are now associated with severe cases of Covid-19.

But they’re not distributed equally. Minority populations are bearing the brunt of this often-deadly link.

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