Counties with the worst air pollution

Harvard researchers Wu et al. (2020) linked long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, a type of air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, to increased vulnerability for COVID-19. FindCare used data from the researchers to rank U.S. counties according to their fine particulate matter pollution, averaging values over a 17-year timeframe (2000 to 2016). The story and visualizations are made freely available for republication. We only require that you source and link back to the original FindCare story, linked below.

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A study by scientists at Harvard University looked at whether long-term average exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was associated with a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 in the United States, drawing from Johns Hopkins University tallies of COVID deaths in more than 3,000 counties in the spring of 2020.

FindCare consulted the study from Harvard University researchers Wu et al., published in Science Advances in 2020. The authors calculated average fine particulate matter pollution (or PM2.5 pollution) from 2000 to 2016, and found that long-term average exposure to this type of pollution leads to increased vulnerability to COVID-19. In this story, Findcare ranked the top 10 counties according to their average PM2.5 pollution across that 17-year timeframe. Findcare also mapped out the average PM2.5 pollution for all available counties.

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