Scientists call for apps to monitor symptoms and cross-relate to air pollution data – exactly what AirSensa’s new Covid-19 recovered patient app is designed for

Public Health England (PHE) published a report today confirming the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on people from ethnic minorities, but failed to mention air pollution as a factor.  

As noted in my post from April 11th, there is a growing body of research linking air pollution to both transmission and fatality rate of the virus.  

Among the people criticising the PHE report today are:

 Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, whose daughter Ella died in 2013 from a severe asthma attack that medical experts have now linked to spikes in air pollution, who said “Some people will say air pollution in itself is racism because, yet again, it disproportionately affects black people – Covid-19 has just made it more obvious.”

 Geraint Davies, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on air pollution, who said: “It is wholly irresponsible for PHE not to correct for air pollution and occupation. The review should instead say [ethnic minorities] are put into harm’s way by living in more polluted areas and by being overrepresented amongst frontline workers”

 Professor Francesca Dominici, of Harvard University, who said “We have a large body of evidence that health risks associated with air pollution exposure are higher among ethnic minorities.”, and

 Issy Bray, a health statistics expert at the University of the West of England, who said: “…it is already clear that the relationship between ethnicity and risk of coronavirus is at least partially explained by a range of societal factors, and it is these inequalities that we should be tackling.”

Crucially, it is accepted that the influence of air pollution could be singled out if carefully analysed alongside other important factors such as population density, deprivation, occupation and obesity, ideally using data on individuals. 

Issy Bray said that smartphone apps that monitor symptoms could be useful by providing large amounts of personal and location data.

AirSensa’s Recovered Patient app is designed to do just that – monitor symptoms from those affected by the virus and cross-relate to the best air pollution data which, as we grow our city-scale hyperlocal networks, will get far more refined than data available today.

For more information on AirSensa’s Covid-19 app, or on hyperlocal air quality monitoring, please contact Jonathan Steel – js@airsensa.com

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