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Buzzfeed interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, about whether the smoke from wildfires may also make people more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Wildfires up and down the West Coast are clogging the skies with smoke and unleashing yet another health emergency upon a nation that is already in the throes of a deadly pandemic.
The historic fires made Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver the most polluted major cities in the world as of Tuesday, according to the air quality monitoring website IQAir. Delhi, the notoriously polluted Indian capital, was pushed to fourth place.
Health experts warn that, in the short term, people exposed to these high concentrations of wildfire smoke will be more likely to die of heart attacks or be hospitalized because of asthma and other respiratory problems. The longer-term effects are less clear, but early research suggests that severe exposure to wildfire smoke can cause measurable reductions in lung function that last for at least a couple of years.