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A Doctor's Word: Exposure to smoke from wildfires can increase risk for COVID-19

by Sunita Sohrabji - Ethnic Media Services

Thousands of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington between March and December 2020 may be attributable to wildfire smoke, according to a new study released Aug. 13 by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, looked at the connection between county-and daily-level data on fine particulate matter — PM 2.5 — and the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in 92 counties across California, Oregon, and Washington. The researchers accounted for factors such as weather, population size, and societal patterns of social distancing and mass gatherings.