According to a recent study, the link between air pollution and COVID-19 cases is yet to be established, however, long-term exposure to pollution will certainly make people more vulnerable to lung infections especially in parts of north India, including Delhi, reported PTI.

The researchers at Harvard University said that relationship between long-term air pollution and COVID-19 has been documented in many studies, which indicate that adverse health impacts of air pollution can make people prone to the infection or exacerbate the severity of COVID-19 symptoms once infected.

Also read: Air pollution linked to 15% of coronavirus deaths: Study

“Given the current limited literature, the surge of PM2.5 level in Delhi may be associated with increased COVID-19 cases… Although the literature is relatively sparse at this stage,” Xiao Wu, corresponding author of the Harvard study, told PTI.

As COVID-19 causes viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, the link to air pollution is quite interesting, scientists said.

Also read: Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: Study

In other similar studies, it has been found that toxic air particles can penetrate airways and cause widespread infiltration of lung cells.

The air quality in north India is expected to deteriorate further from November to February due to several factors such as stubble burning, festive fireworks and low wind speed conditions which lead to an uptick in vehicular and industrial pollution being trapped in the lower atmosphere.

India ranks second in the COVID-19 caseload of over 7.9 million and has the third-highest death toll with more than 115,000 from the deadly coronavirus.