In London, fewer deaths have been caused by Covid-19 than are lost due to air pollution each year.


First, fact checking!..

As of 18/09/20, total hospital Covid deaths in London was 6,172. In-hospital deaths are estimated to be 73% of total.

So 8,455 total London Covid deaths.

The 2015 King's College London report on Air Pollution put annual deaths from PM2.5 at 3,537 and from NO2 at 5,879. (This is after accounting for a 30% overlap between the effects of PM2.5 and NO2.)

So 9,416 annual London air pollution deaths.

But are these deaths *caused by* these factors, or are they just *premature* deaths?

There's been a lot of discussion about this with Covid - underlying health conditions, would they have died soon anyway, etc.

But with the air pollution this is *not* the case…

Those are not 9,416 deaths which were slightly premature due to air pollution. That's not how it's calculated.

It's calculated by taking the total life years lost (140,743) and converting that into a figure of "equivalent deaths", which is 9,416.

Before we jump to any kind of "this proves we should take action on air pollution instead of Covid" type statements, it should be noted that if we had not taken action on Covid then the Covid figure would be much much higher.

It should also be noted that I've taken the air pollution deaths for a whole year, whereas the Covid deaths are only for the year *so far*. Maybe we should multiply the air pollution deaths by 0.715 to account for them only being up to September 18th.

But it should also be noted that the air pollution deaths are happening every year.



How far back should we add them up? 2015? 2010? 2000? And how far forwards should we project them? As far as I know, humans don't develop immunity to air pollution.

Tackling air pollution is a difficult. It requires practical changes, attitude changes, and shifting social norms.

I'm not going to put my ideas for tackling it here, I'm just going to leave this for you to think about, to spark your own ideas, maybe rage, and then action…

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