Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Coronavirus patients in more polluted parts of the United States are more likely to die from the illness than those in cleaner areas, according to a new Harvard University analysis of 3,080 counties across the country.

Why it matters: The study indicates a correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and heightened death rates associated with the virus. Its findings could impact how medical resources necessary to respond to the virus are being distributed throughout the U.S., per the New York Times.

The big picture: The new analysis demonstrated that even slight increases in the level of particle pollution — much of which comes from fuel combustion, as well as indoor sources — had negative impacts associated with COVID-19.

By the numbers:

  • Someone who has lived for decades in a county with such dangerous levels of pollution, called PM 2.5, is 15% more likely to die from the coronavirus than an individual in an area with one fewer unit of pollution from the particulate matter.
  • Lowering the average particulate matter in Manhattan by a single unit over the last 20 years would have resulted in 248 fewer COVID-19 deaths to date, the study indicates.

How it works: To conduct the study, researchers collected data on particulate matter from more than 3,000 counties over the past 17 years. They compiled COVID-19 death statistics through April 4 from each county, using data from Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

  • The researchers also conducted six secondary analyses to adjust for outside factors that could influence the results.
  • The study will need to be confirmed by further analyses, since it can only determine a causal connection without examining individual patient data, its head researcher told the Times.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Amy Harder: Expect scrutiny of these links between air pollution and the pandemic to increase as President Trump continues to curtail pollution standards, including last week's rollback of auto efficiency standards.

The bottom line: “The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis,” the research said.

Go deeper: How climate change and wildlife influence the coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1/3 of people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden on his nearly $2 trillion plan: "We cannot afford inaction”

Joe Biden before speaking Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Biden called for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan this evening, including money to combat the spread of the virus, vaccinate millions of Americans and provide direct relief to individuals in the form of an additional $1,400 in cash payments.

Why it matters: Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is his opening bid to Congress on the first of two massive proposals requiring approval in the House and Senate. He'll return in February, in his first address to Congress, to ask for additional infrastructure spending, as Axios reported and Biden confirmed Thursday night.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: A tense wait as Bobi Wine says outlook "looks good"

Bobi Wine casts his ballot. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty

Ugandans faced a stark choice at the ballot box Thursday between strongman Yoweri Museveni and singer-turned-opposition icon Bobi Wine, who was just 3 years old when Museveni took power 35 years ago.

Why it matters: Wine has tapped into the discontent and aspirations of young people, particularly in cities like Kampala. Two-thirds of Ugandans have known no leader but Museveni, and many are struggling to find jobs. When Wine's campaign caravan rolls into a neighborhood, massive crowds rise up to meet it.