"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Wildfire Smoke May Increase Risk of COVID-19 Infection


During the wildfire season of 2020, scientists from the Desert Research Institute discovered that the infection rates from COVID-19 drastically increased, according to reports released on July 19, 2021.

In response to this, Nevada-based scientists from Carson City have begun to argue that the wildfire smoke may have been contributed to the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Moreover, they believe the smoke caused an increase in last year’s infection rate in Nevada.

The scientists from the Desert Research Institute found out that the infection rates had increased at a disproportional rate due to the smoke from the fires in neighboring states that covered most of Northern Nevada.

Wildfire Daniel Kiser — an assistant research scientist from the Desert Research Institute — and four other co-authors noted the test positivity rate in Washoe County increased significantly when the monitors measured high levels of particulate matter in the air that came from the wildfire smoke spiked.

On the other hand, the study found that the positivity rate, from analyzing every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of small particulate matter in the air, had increased to six percent only two to six days later.

Kiser, however, denied this study’s conclusion. He claims the study was empirical and that the uptick can be possibly attributed to other factors, such as students returning to school and changes in local restrictions. However, momentary upticks during a period of high pollution could suggest a possible connection between smoke from wildfires and the spreading of the virus.

He told the Associated Press that the reason they were convinced that something big was going on was due to the temporary association in the midst of a large uptick in cases.

Additionally, Kiser asserted that wildfires and such were likely to get involved in the study of viruses in the future due to smoke from the Tamarack Fire and Beckwourth spreading throughout much of Northern Nevada, which polluted Reno, Carson City, and Gardnerville.

Written by Ramses Sanchez Cantu
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


HuffPost: Wildfire Smoke May Add To COVID-19 Risk: Study; by Sam Metz

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Kevin Spencer’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of runarut’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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