News & media

The Energy 202: A Harvard study tying coronavirus death rates to pollution is causing an uproar in Washington

By Dino Grandoni | May 7, 2020 | The Washington Post
with Paulina Firozi

An early study from Harvard University linking dirty air to the worst coronavirus outcomes has quickly become a political football in Washington.

Presidential candidates, agency regulators, oil lobbyists and members of Congress from both parties are using the preliminary research to advance their own political priorities — well before it has a chance to be peer-reviewed.

The stakes are high because the study’s tentative findings could prove enormously consequential for both the pandemic’s impact and the global debate over curbing air pollution. The researchers found that pollution emanating from everything from industrial smokestacks to household chimneys is making the worst pandemic in a century even more deadly.

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