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Wildfire Smoke May Have Contributed to Thousands of Extra COVID-19 Cases & Deaths in Western US in 2020

Photo: Getty Images

Thousands of COVID-19 cases and deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington between March and December 2020 may be attributable to increases in fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) from wildfire smoke, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study is the first to quantify the degree to which increases in PM2.5 pollution during the wildfires contributed to excess COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. It was published online August 13, 2021, in Science Advances.

“The year 2020 brought unimaginable challenges ...