In previous posts we suggested that the current respiratory disease that is being called “Covid-19” may be caused by something else than the new coronavirus so many people are being tested positive for. Please see this article for a summary of the reasons we think that might be the case; see this post for Chapter One of our Revisionism series, where we documentedd a strange “epidemic” in Brescia (Lombardy) that occurred in 2018.
Today, we would like to draw our readers’ attention to a possible causal factor, namely atmospheric particulate matter.
Although not all particulates are anthropogenic or akin to pollution, when someone speaks of “air pollution”, that is what she usually has in mind (although some have started to amalgamate carbon dioxide into that appellation, which isn’t rigorous, as CO2 may be a greenhouse gas, it is not a pollutant per se).
Particulates are usually distinguished by size: “coarse” particles, with a diameter between 2.5 and 10 micrometers, are called PM10. “Fine” particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometers (but still of the micro order), are called PM2.5. Another type of particulate exists, whose proliferation is much more recent, and that is not nearly as regulated or understood: nanoparticles, orders of magnitude smaller, between 1 and 100 nanometers in diameter.
Particulates of all sizes are the most harmful form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing heart attacks, respiratory disease, and premature death. As a thumb rule, the smaller the deadlier. Worldwide exposure to PM2.5 contributed to 4.1 million deaths from heart disease and stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and respiratory diseases in 2016.
And yet, little is known by the general public about them; few people realize for example that electric vehicles do not significantly help improve air quality. As this linked study shows, and because electric vehicles are heavier in average, they produce more non-exhaust particulates (mostly from tyre and brake friction), and thus about the same amount of PM10 and PM2.5 overall; because vaporisation of organic compounds in tyres release (archive) zinc as well as highly carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, electric vehicles may even, down the road, prove more detrimental to our health.
Particulates and COVID-19
Many people noted that both Wuhan and Lombardy, two hotspots for Covid deaths, also suffered from heavy air pollution. Now there is some scientific support for such a correlation.
For the time being, this is being presented as a co-factor, i.e. the causality virus-disease is being put into question by none of these researchers. Still, in this section, we would like to share their insights with our readers. Excerpts are proposed below (emphasis ours), with the full research paper linked each time.
There is a strong established link between severe viral respiratory disease, which causes infection in 10∼20% of the population, and air pollution. […] [Fine atmospheric particles] lead to progressive and chronic inflammation of the respiratory airways with excessive mucus production and decreased ciliary activity with subjects chronically exposed to air pollutants more prone to develop severe respiratory diseases after viral infections. […]
In Italy, the outbreaks were focused in the North, exactly in the Po valley, cities of Lodi, Cremona and Bergamo, which are in the five Italian cities with highest pollution levels. The region, which is often referred as the “Industrial Triangle” after the economic boom of the sixties of the twentieth century, is characterized by a high density of factories, traffic and intensive agriculture. Such dense anthropic activity produces a significant pollutant emission in the region, which along with its specific topography its and climatic features, produces a hood where fine particulates are trapped. Indeed, Po Valley is a plain surrounded by Alps, characterised by weak winds and frequent episodes of climatic inversion, inhibiting the air recycling and thus the pollutants dissolution. In the last month of December and January, the concentrations of PM2.5 over this region reached unprecedented values that are similar to those characterizing the Hubei Region, China, where the first peak of COVID-19 infection was registered.
[…] Lombardy and Emilia Romagna are Italian regions with both the highest level of virus lethality in the world and one of Europe’s most polluted area. Based on this correlation, this paper analyzes the possible link between pollution and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome and eventually death. We provide evidence that people living in an area with high levels of pollutant are more prone to develop chronic respiratory conditions and suitable to any infective agent. […] We conclude that the high level of pollution in Northern Italy should be considered an additional co-factor of the high level of lethality recorded in that area.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is an ambient trace-gas result of both natural and anthropogenic processes. The spatial analysis has been conducted on a regional scale and combined with the number of death cases taken from 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Results show that out of the 4443 fatality cases, 3487 (78%) were in five regions located in north Italy and central Spain. Additionally, the same five regions show the highest NO2 concentrations combined with downwards airflow which prevent an efficient dispersion of air pollution. These results indicate that the long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the COVID-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world. [Editor’s note: NO2 is a “typical” pollutant strongly correlated with the particulate matter we’ve been discussing in this post.]
Many of the pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of death in those with COVID-19 are the same diseases that are affected by long-term exposure to air pollution. We investigated whether long-term average exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 death in the United States. […] We found that an increase of only 1 μg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with an 8% increase in the COVID-19 death rate (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2%, 15%). The results were statistically significant and robust to secondary and sensitivity analyses. A small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in the COVID-19 death rate.
The Spin Vs The Truth
As mentioned before, no mainstream outlet, publication or researcher has to this day (and to our knowledge) questioned the virus narrative. Indeed a “new coronavirus” is systematically assumed to be the principal cause; no evidence of this exists however.
Justifying the virus doctrine sometimes takes a comical form. For example The Guardian, after properly reporting twice the correlation with atmospheric pollution, comes out with an article that quotes an Italian researcher saying “the virus could be carried more widely by air pollution”, i.e. “the pollution particle is like a micro-airplane and the passengers are the droplets“. And indeed, that is what this researcher’s “position paper” (archive), which is even quoted by colleagues (archive), surmises. That explanation, utterly unproven, and borderline absurd, resembles the epicycles Ptolemaic astronomers used to rely on to explain their incoherent observations, and while they were still under the assumption the Sun rotated around the Earth.
Now about the truth: a hint of it can be found in a 2003 book by Devra Davis, called When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution. It was the 2002 finalist of the 2002 Nonfiction National Books Award. Ms Davis herself is a famous American epidemiologist who served as the Clinton appointee to the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. She has also authored more than 190 publications in books and journals, and lectures at American and European universities.
In this book, she documents the shocking toll of a public-health disaster: 300,000 deaths a year in the U.S. and Europe from the effects of pollution. She also makes startling revelations about how the deaths from the London smog of 1952 were falsely attributed to influenza.
For readers interested to evaluate the book, and because we believe in open access, we make a full copy available here. However, and out of respect for the author, we urge anyone interested in reading the full book to buy a copy.
In this post we have presented evidence that atmospheric pollution in general, and particulate matter specifically, is a strong causal factor in the fatalities linked to the respiratory disease being labelled “Covid”.
The thread we have been following is becoming obvious: these deaths have been happening for a while already. In Brescia in 2018, they were labelled “legionella”. In the USA in 2019, they were labelled “vaping illness”. And across the world in 2020, they are being labelled “coronavirus”. Indeed we are trying to refute a “new coronavirus” is responsible for any of this.
Yet, we have not yet shown atmospheric particulates are the sole causal factor. We are looking for something new, something that didn’t yet exist at a time when atmospheric pollution was admittedly worse in Europe. Indeed another ingredient is certainly at play. We hope to shed light on that in future posts.