Syrian air force may have dropped chlorine bomb on town in rebel area in 2018: chemical arms watchdog


FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is pictured in The Hague, Netherlands
FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is pictured in The Hague, Netherlands, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

April 12, 2021

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The global chemical weapons watchdog has “reasonable grounds to believe” that Syria’s air force dropped a chlorine bomb on a residential neighbourhood in the rebel-controlled Idlib region in February 2018, a report released on Monday said.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government. Syria and its military ally Russia have consistently denied using chemical weapons during President Bashar al-Assad’s decade-old conflict with rebel forces, saying any such attacks were staged by opponents to make Damascus look like the culprit.

The new report by the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog’s investigative arm said no one was killed when the cylinder of chlorine gas, delivered in a barrel bomb, hit the Al Talil neighbourhood in the city of Saraqib in February 2018.

However, on the night of Feb. 4, a dozen people were treated for symptoms consistent with chemical poisoning, including nausea, eye irritation, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, it said.

Chlorine is not an internationally banned toxin, but the use of any chemical substance in armed conflict is banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, the implementation of which is overseen by the OPCW watchdog based in The Hague.

A crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators by Assad in 2011 mushroomed into civil war, with Russia and Iran supporting his government and the United States, Turkey and some Arab adversaries of Damascus backing some of the many rebel groups.

In April 2020, the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) concluded that Syrian warplanes and a helicopter had dropped bombs containing chlorine and sarin nerve gas on a village in Syria’s Hama region in March 2017.

TOXIC GAS RELEASED

The latest report by the IIT also implicated Syrian government forces. It concluded that “there were reasonable grounds to believe” a chlorine cylinder was dropped from a helicopter.

“During ongoing attacks against Saraqib, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force code named Alpha-253”, under the control of the Tiger Forces, hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder. The cylinder ruptured and released a toxic gas, chlorine, which dispersed over a large area, affecting 12 named individuals,” the report said.

The Tiger Forces are an elite Syrian military unit generally used in offensive operations in the war, which has largely subsided with Assad having wrested back most territory with crucial Russian and Iranian support.

“All elements indicated the presence of Tiger Forces in the vicinity of Saraqib. They found that a helicopter was just flying above the bombed area at the moment of the gas release,” a summary of the OPCW report said.

It said that samples collected from the scene were examined and other possible means of chlorine contamination considered, but the OPCW team said nothing was found to indicate that the incident was staged by Assad’s adversaries.

The team identified individuals believed to be involved in the alleged attack but did not release their names.

Between 2015 and 2017, a joint United Nations-OPCW team known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) found that Syrian government troops had used the nerve agent sarin and chlorine barrel bombs on several occasions, while Islamic State militants were found to have used mustard gas.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)

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Rugby commentator Joe Wheeler taken off air after awful, racist accent


Former rugby star Joe Wheeler is off air after his controversial post-match comments making fun of a Japanese player.

The Sky Sport commentator shocked viewers during a post-match interview on Friday night following the Highlanders’ 33-12 win over the Crusaders.

While interviewing Highlanders’ first five-eighths Mitchell Hunt, he praised the play of Japanese international Kazuki Himeno; but did so using a mock-Asian accent.

“He was leally impressive, wasn’t he? He was leally, leally good,” Wheeler said to Hunt.

Wheeler’s comments lead to an avalanche of condemnation from Sky Sport viewers.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon also came out against them on Saturday, saying they were hurtful and had no place in society.

As the Super Rugby Aotearoa prepares for this weekend’s clashes – with the Highlanders playing the Chiefs on Saturday, and the Hurricanes facing the Crusaders on Sunday – a spokesperson for Sky said Wheeler would not be behind a microphone.

“Joe Wheeler has apologised for his comments and Sky has made it clear where we stand,” the spokesperson said.

“Joe has acknowledged that he has some work to do and we’re supporting him through this. Joe is off air at this time.”

About an hour after making his controversial comments, Wheeler took to social media to apologise.

“Tonight I stuffed up! I’ve spoken with @teikyo_8 (Kazuki Himeno) and apologised to him and the @Highlanders and our Sky crew. I absolutely accept this is not the standard expected of the sideline team. I’ve got some work to do obviously, but I’m absolutely committed to doing better,” he wrote on Twitter.

That tweet was followed by a statement from Sky to the media.

In it, the broadcaster wrote: “Joe Wheeler has spoken with Kazuki and apologised to him and to team management.

“He absolutely accepts this is not the standard expected of the broadcast team.

“Sky is committed to being culturally respectful and we expect all crew to do the right thing.”

As well as being slammed by many Sky Sport viewers, international media picked up on Wheeler’s comments; including several leading Asian websites.

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London air fares jump five times on Kenya travel ban


Economy

London air fares jump five times on Kenya travel ban


A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • The mad rush for plane seats comes days after the Kenyan government banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9 to retaliate a move by London to add the country on its travel ‘red list’.
  • Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the ‘red list’ will be denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in government-approved hotels at their cost.

Air ticket prices to the UK have risen fivefold as British expatriates and tourists scramble to exit Kenya ahead of the suspension of passenger flights between the two countries starting this Friday.

The mad rush for plane seats comes days after the Kenyan government banned all flights from the UK, effective April 9 to retaliate a move by London to add the country on its travel ‘red list’.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the ‘red list’ will be denied entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in government-approved hotels at their cost.

The passenger flights ban by Kenya has triggered a sharp rise in airfare from Nairobi to London as travellers race to avoid being stranded.

For instance, national carrier Kenya Airways is charging up to Sh290,000 for a one-way ticket to London on today’s flights (April 7) from the normal average of Sh59,000 ($55)—a change it attributes to heightened demand for seats on the route.

“There are limited number of airlines flying to the UK currently and this means less seats. Now people have to get out of Nairobi before deadline,” an official of KQ told the Business Daily.

Demand for travel from London to Nairobi, however, remains low, with a one-way ticket retailing for Sh55,795, suggesting that few people are exiting Britain in the wake of Kenya’s ban.

KQ on Monday announced that it would suspend flights to the UK effective April 9 in line with the directive by the government.

“Kenya Airways announces the suspension of passenger flights between Kenya and the UK effective April 9, 2021 at 00:00 hours until further notice,” said the carrier in a statement.

KQ says its flights to the UK from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are fully booked today and tomorrow, with British Airways also indicating that bookings are unavailable for the two days.

With the suspension of flights between Nairobi and London, passengers would have had an alternative connection through Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines.

Unfortunately, Ethiopian Airlines has suspended flights in an out of the UK, too, after Ethiopia was added on the country’s Covid-19 “red-list”.

Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates, which are used by passengers on transit to the UK, have both been put on the red list for some time.

The lack of enough capacity has seen KQ increase the number of flights on the UK route. The airline is operating five flights today (April 7) to London, which were fully booked ahead of the deadline.

KQ has been operating daily flights to London until recently when it dropped the frequencies to about three in a week on low demand because of stringent regulations on Covid-19.

JKIA is a major regional hub, with passengers from other regions flying to the facility to connect flights to Asia, Europe or the Middle East.

More than 1.5 million passengers transit through JKIA, according to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

British Airways, which is expected to suspend flights after April 9, was charging Sh59,000 as at April 6 for a one-way economy seat to London.

However, the carrier’s website indicated unavailability of seats today and tomorrow, implying that it is fully booked on these days.

“Bookings have been very strong as everyone wants to travel out of the country before the deadline,” said an official with British Airways.

At the moment, it is only KQ and the British carrier that are operating direct flights between Nairobi and London.

Besides the passenger flight ban, Kenya has also directed all non-citizens coming from the UK to self-isolate for 14 days before they can be admitted to the country in what will significantly cut on the number of tourists visiting Kenya ahead of the summer holidays.

UK arrivals are also required to conduct two Covid-19 tests, one on the second day of quarantine and another one on the eighth day.

“The decision by the government of the United Kingdom to ‘Red List’ Kenya and to stop all travel from Kenya for those residents in Kenya and those transiting through Kenya to the United Kingdom will have deep and far-reaching consequences on the Kenya-UK trade, travel, tourism security cooperation among other sectors,” said a Kenya government statement.

The UK restrictions are reportedly based on concerns Kenya had not closed down routes through which the South African variant of the coronavirus, known as B.1.351, entered the country.

Diplomats expressed anger at what they feel is wrong-timing.

The latest sharp rise in airfare mirrors the state of travel a year ago when expatriates were caught up in a scramble to exit Kenya amid uncertainty following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

Last April, foreigners were paying up to three times normal ticket prices to return to their home countries as airlines provide charter flights for repatriation.

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AFLW grand final given ‘clear air’, MCG in contention to host season decider



The AFL has confirmed the AFLW grand final will be held as a standalone event and will not have to compete against a men’s match for the attention of fans.

The league also announced the MCG could host the AFLW season decider for the first time since the competition began four years ago.

The grand final will commence at 2:00pm (AEST) on April 17.

The AFL has moved the start time of the men’s match between the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast at Docklands from 1:45pm to 4:35pm (AEST), saying they wanted to make sure there was “clear air” for the AFLW grand final.

Aside from the MCG, Adelaide Oval and the Gabba in Brisbane are also in contention to host the grand final.

The AFLW’s showpiece match will be played in the home state of the team ranked highest following this Saturday’s preliminary finals.

Adelaide, facing Melbourne in the opening preliminary final, is the top-ranked side remaining in the competition.

Brisbane, playing Collingwood in the second preliminary final, is the second-ranked side.

The Demons and Magpies would need to beat the Crows and Lions respectively for the MCG to host the grand final.

“I would love nothing more than to see a packed Adelaide Oval, MCG or the Gabba, watching women’s football at the highest level,” AFL general manager of women’s football Nicole Livingstone said in a statement.

“As we look ahead to this weekend’s preliminary finals, we are excited to witness who earns the right to host this year’s grand final.”

If the grand final is to be played at the MCG, the round-five AFL match between Carlton and Port Adelaide will be rescheduled from 7:25pm to 7:40pm (AEST) to allow the AFLW crowd to disperse and the stadium to be cleaned ahead of the Blues-Power encounter.

The Gabba will also be cleaned if it hosts the grand final ahead of the Brisbane-Essendon AFL match to be played later that evening.

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Weekly CEO Update: Coming up for air after a busy start to the year


Amongst new virus outbreaks leading to lockdowns, floods, vaccine roll-outs, ongoing challenges in economic recovery, post-pandemic plans, and upheaval and changes in portfolio leadership in Government, it’s sometimes hard to come up for air. Add in the fact that our community is grappling with confronting conversations about gender equity and safety for women again, and it makes it even more difficult to argue and advocate for other important issues. 

So amongst all these important things taking all the air time, we also need to make sure we don’t miss things. Discussions that are important for the future of mental health reform and the ecosystem we’re all part of.

World Bipolar Day is observed each year on 30 March — the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh — the famous painter who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder. Aiming to bring awareness to bipolar disorder and break down stigma, Bipolar Australia marks the day with their “Blow Bubbles for Bipolar” campaign and a series of presentations, panel discussions, and Q&As.

Last year Mental Health Australia welcomed Bipolar Australia as new members and we wish them all the best as they advocate for more recognition and support for an estimated 560,000 Australians who live with bipolar disorders and those who love and care for them.

Having been in touch with them this week about some of their own advocacy efforts, what stands out for me at Mental Health Australia is how valuable the grassroots work is that organisations like Bipolar Australia lead as part of our mental health ecosystem. 

They are small group of passionate advocates who join with many likeminded groups who spotlight the serious challenges we have in this country such as combatting stigma; highlighting the experience of those living with mental ill health and their families; and arguing for better and smarter distribution and coordination of resources to support treatment and ongoing care. 

These campaigns and causes need to compete with the daily news cycle and broader national narrative, but ultimately amounts to advocacy work that has the ability to change and enhance lives for those living with mental illness.

Coming for air over the Easter break will be another nice chance to reflect on the great passion and commitment we see every day in the mental health community to make things better. And as we look ahead to the Federal Budget in May, with more reform opportunities ahead of us, we all know there is still much more to do together.

Enjoy the long weekend.

 

Leanne Beagley
CEO

On Tuesday I will be meeting with the Australian Association of Social Workers and on Wednesday I have my regular meeting with Christine Morgan, CEO National Mental Health Commission. That afternoon I am meeting with Michael Lye, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Health about aged care and mental health. 

On Thursday I will be in Sydney for a Roundtable with Shadow Minister Mark Butler and on Friday I will be preparing for a webinar I am chairing the following week on Post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma and substance use: promising new treatments for adolescents.

 

Communicate your news or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.

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Catholic Social Services Australia
Catholic Social Services Australia is the Catholic Church’s peak national social services body. With more than 60 members across Australia, , Catholic Social Services Australia works with its members to produce evidence/research which informs public opinion and assists lawmakers to develop just and compassionate social and economic policies that will improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Australia.


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Star Health Group
Star Health is a leading not-for-profit provider of primary health and community services in the inner south of Melbourne and surrounds. Operating from a social model of health, we provide a comprehensive range of holistic, wrap-around services including mental health, GP, dental, allied health, alcohol and other drugs, Indigenous health, aged care, homelessness and family violence.

Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Workshops
We are pleased to annnounce that we are holding 3 new workshops on the Framework in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 
These free and newly expanded workshops will offer particapnts an opportunity to learn more about the Framework and hear how services have applied the Framework to their workplace. 
Registrations can be made using the following links:

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New Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status available

The most recent indicators of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are documented in the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet’s annual publication, the Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2020 and are freely available on the website.

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New communications toolkit reframing children’s mental health

The words we use make a difference. Research shows that child mental health experts and practitioners working with children, parents/adults and families have different understandings about children’s mental health. How we communicate our messages is key to bridging this gap. A new toolkit has been developed to support child mental health experts and organisations who communicate about children’s mental health to create messages that resonate and inspire positive change.

Read more


 

LiFE awards nominations open 

Nominations are now open for the 2021 LiFE Awards, recognising excellence in suicide prevention. This prestigious national event attracts diverse nominations with an interest in suicide prevention and supporting those affected by suicide across Australia. Nominees typically range from well-established groups to community-based organisations and dedicated individuals. The awards celebrate the energy and commitment of the nominees and their vital contribution to the reduction of suicide within our communities. The LiFE awards nomination form is available here, nominations close in April.

The Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium 2021 

The Suicide Prevention Australia Symposium 2021 presents a unique opportunity to bring the brightest minds together and latest thinking to promote excellence in suicide prevention. This online event provides a gateway to unite suicide prevention experts to showcase evidence-based solutions and robust discussion, focused on solutions for saving lives. Held on 19-22 April 2021, this online symposium will attract around 500 delegates to hear from international keynote speakers, participate in workshops and collaborate with their peers. Find more information on the Symposium here.

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Return of Jones Beach air show strengthens region’s economy – Long Island Business News





Opinion: This year will be the Air Force’s turn to display their aerobatic prowess as the F-16 Thunderbirds operate from Long Island MacArthur Airport.





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Love is in the Air surprise from John Paul Young at Strictly Ballroom high school musical


Australian music legend John Paul Young thrilled a school musical cast and audience with a stunning, unheralded appearance in a North Queensland school’s production of Strictly Ballroom last night.

Young appeared on stage during the final scene to belt out his global hit Love is in the Air — surprising students and the Burdekin Theatre’s sold-out audience.

The Ayr region school flew Young in to surprise the Burdekin Christian College students putting on the school’s first-ever full-length production.

Principal Debra Creed said arrangements were made for the singer’s visit months ago.

“I have to say a special thank you to Mr John Paul Young for coming,” she said.

There were doubts that Young would be able to make the production due to the disastrous floods in News South Wales.

His flights from Newcastle had to be re-routed at late notice.

Since mid-2020, students have been preparing for the school’s adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, a romantic comedy about a young man raised by ballroom dancers who risked his career for artistic freedom.

Students Emily Holmes, who played Fran, and Kremon Hankin, who played Scott, were overjoyed to see the production go proceed despite the pandemic.

“We spent nearly a whole year on this performance, planning,” Emily said.

“It was scheduled for October [last year] but because of COVID it had to be rescheduled. 

“It was my first theatre performance but it was great because there was a lot of cheer from the crowd,” Kremon said.

For Young, his unexpected regional performance was one of his first opportunities to revisit the stage since the pandemic began. 

“They asked me if I could come along and do this and I was quite happy to. 

“I’ve been in sort of solitary confinement for the last 12 months. I’ve only really worked once in the last year so it was great to get out of the house.”

Young congratulated the young performers on their theatre debut with some words of wisdom. 

“It’s just a great place to learn and I’m sure they’ve all learnt something,” he said. 

Students were also surprised by a video message from Paul Mercurio who played the role of Scott in the 1992 Strictly Ballroom film, which played before the production.

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Air Canada to resume some flights to sun destinations in May


MONTREAL —
Air Canada says it will restore some service along routes to Jamaica, Mexico and Barbados beginning in early May after Canadian airlines suspended all flights to sun destinations in January at the request of the federal government.

Air Canada will operate three flights per week from Toronto to Mexico City starting May 3, and one flight per week from Toronto to Kingston, Jamaica and Bridgetown, Barbados beginning May 5 and May 9, respectively.

The suspension on flights to sun destinations was intended to last until April 30.

Air Canada said in its most recent earnings call in February that it expected the federal government to replace some quarantine measures for international travellers with a testing program at airports by the time the suspensions were scheduled to lift.

In addition to flights to sun destinations, Air Canada also suspended some routes to the U.S. and other countries earlier this year due to low demand for travel.

The airline plans to restore some routes, including Vancouver – Tokyo as of May 1, Toronto – Hong Kong as of May 6 and Toronto – Bogota as of May 7.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021.



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Joe Biden ‘just fine’ after falling up stairs while boarding Air Force One | US News


Joe Biden is “just fine” after he fell up a flight of stairs as he boarded his presidential plane on Friday.

The US president, 78, stumbled three times as he climbed the steps on to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland this morning.

He and Vice President Kamala Harris were on their way to Atlanta, Georgia, to meet the community devastated by Wednesday’s shooting that left eight people dead.

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Mr Biden is the oldest person to assume the office of president

Mr Biden, who is the oldest person ever to become US president, managed to get back up unaided after the falls.

Wearing a mask, he turned to salute the military officer standing on the tarmac below before boarding the plane.

The White House said the president is “just fine and did not even require any attention from the medical team who travels with him”.

“Nothing more than a misstep on the stairs,” a spokesperson added.

And he can take some comfort from the fact that at least two of his predecessors have had similar trouble with those seemingly crafty steps.

Back in 2015, Mr Biden’s former boss Barack Obama nearly fell down the stairs leaving the plane after returning to Washington from a golf trip in Florida.

Gerald Ford took a nasty fall upon arrival in a rainy Austria in 1975.

And away from Air Force One, Mr Biden’s fellow Democrat and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made headlines when she fell into the arms of her bodyguards during a 9/11 memorial service in 2016.

She later said she had been suffering from dehydration and pneumonia.

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Before leaving for Atlanta, Mr Biden expressed his sadness over the shootings in the city, of which the victims were mainly women of South Asian origin.

“While we do not yet know motive, as I said last week, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing crisis of gender-based and anti-Asian violence that has long plagued our nation,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been arrested and charged with several counts of murder over the killings.

He has told detectives he was suffering from sex addiction and needed to eliminate any temptation by targeting spas and massage parlours.

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Study says air pollution played a role in early U.S. COVID-19 outbreak


Exposure to particulate matter — a mixture of liquid and solid particles suspended in the air that ranges from dust to airborne transmission of viral droplets — has been harmful to human health. Research led by Maria de Fatima Andrade from the University of São Paulo in Brazil found particulate matter plays a significant role in increasing coronavirus cases in cities.

The authors write:

“The findings support the viral transport hypothesis, i.e., virus can associate with the preexistent particulate matter in the air synergically. We conclude that PM2.5 plays a small, yet discernible, role in the COVID-19 transmission.”

The study “Exploring the short-term role of particulate matter in the COVID-19 outbreak in USA cities” is available as a preprint on the medRxiv* server, while the article undergoes peer review.

Analyzing COVID-19 case data and pollution levels

The researchers looked at the short-term relationships between particulate matter and how it contributed to COVID-19 cases in U.S. cities during the early stages of the pandemic.

They collected pollutant information from December 30, 2019, to July 31, 2020, using several datasets, including the World Air Quality Index project and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository from John Hopkins University. They matched the city-level pollution data from both datasets to county COVID-19 data. The team then narrowed their data analysis to cities with at least 80% of data available after their first case, had at least 70% of data involving particulate matter less than 1 µg to PM and nitrogen dioxide and 1 ppm to carbon monoxide.

The researchers analyzed particulate matter concentrations less than 2.5 µm and between 10 and 2.5 µm ((PM2.5 and PM10 , respectively).

A Granger causality analysis was used to find potential relationships between pollution levels instantaneous and the rate of daily COVID-19 cases in cities. They also used a logistic fitting curve to measure the number of accumulated COVID-19 cases. Lagged correlations were used to find an association between the accumulated cases and pollution’s effect in influencing the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2).

Spatial distribution of the Granger causality test between pollutants concentrations and COVID-19 new cases in USA counties. Counties where the p-values of the Granger F-test are green when below 0.05 and pink when above. Dark gray squares were plotted around colored counties to facilitate their visualization.

Spatial distribution of the Granger causality test between pollutants concentrations and COVID-19 new cases in USA counties. Counties where the p-values of the Granger F-test are green when below 0.05 and pink when above. Dark gray squares were plotted around colored counties to facilitate their visualization.

What they found

Results showed that having a PM2.5 concentration was associated with COVID-19 cases in 17 of 44 cities. PM2.5 was significantly higher from 0 to 18 days. Higher lags matched the incubation time for SARS-CoV-2, suggesting a PM2.5 concentration significantly impacted outbreak development.

The researchers conclude that PM2.5 greatly contributes to the coronavirus outbreak. They found that this particulate matter concentration increased the rate of COVID-19 cases in cities by 67%. This correlation was not observed with PM10.

Based on the results, the researchers suggest several explanations:

“We can describe at least three potential mechanisms underpinning these relationships: (1) long-term PM2.5 exposure increases population susceptibility; (2) PM2.5 indicates social mobility and (3) PM2.5 is a viral airborne transport facilitator. Mechanisms 1 and 2 are confounding factors to Mechanism 3.”

Other pollutants, such as PM10 and nitrogen dioxide, were also linked to new COVID-19 cases, but in fewer cities. Nitrogen dioxide was linked to the rate of COVID-19 cases in 7 out of 28 cities and PM10 in 8 out of 20 cities.

Carbon monoxide was significantly linked to the rate of COVID-19 cases in 4 out of 21 locations. Carbon monoxide was also correlated with accumulated case rates with notably higher correlations after 26 days.

There was no pattern found in how the new COVID-19 cases spread throughout cities, indicating possible confounding effects such as weather and other unique regional features.

Future Work

Given the United State’s diverse geographic landscape and differences in state measures during the pandemic, the researchers suggest the findings could be generalizable to other countries. They say that with more COVID-19 data, future studies would focus on the relationship between pollution levels and COVD-19 cases in cities worldwide.

“Broadly, we hope to raise the interest of the scientific community as well as the awareness of the general public and decision-makers to the potential synergy between viral transmission and air pollution,” wrote the research team.

In terms of actionable items, the team says any attempt to lower the spread of COVID-19 cases in cities would help end the pandemic.

*Important Notice

bioRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

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