Air Pollution and COVID-19: A Dangerous Combination

A recent study released by PSR National, Air Pollution and COVID-19: A Dangerous Combination, assessed the link between air pollution from oil and gas development and rates of COVID-19 infection and death. It examined five counties in Colorado and five counties in New Mexico, each with high levels of oil and gas activity.


Specifically, the report found that:

  • In Colorado, the number of COVID-19 cases was higher than expected in three counties and lower than expected in two. The number of cases was disproportionately high among people aged 20-29 years and Hispanics. More COVID-19 deaths were observed than expected in Adams, Broomfield, and Weld Counties – counties that experienced high levels of oil and gas development in 2020.

  • In New Mexico, the number of COVID-19 cases was higher than expected in three counties and lower than expected in two. Disproportionately high levels of cases were observed among people aged 20-49 years and Native Americans. Higher numbers of deaths from COVID-19 than expected were found in one county and lower than expected in four.

This report contributes to a growing body of evidence indicating that air pollution exacerbates the COVID-19 crisis and worsens prognosis for other respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. As such, every step must be taken to reduce exposure to air pollution, especially from oil and gas operations. The report offers policy recommendations and calls for further research to investigate this relationship.


Click here to read the report!

Click here to read a letter to President Biden!



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