Masters of Health Magazine July 2020 | Page 78

COVID-19, Air Pollution and Glyphosate

By Dr. Stephanie Seneff, B.S., M.S., E.E., Ph.D.

The new disease, COVID-19, is currently sweeping across the globe, disrupting the global economy and causing great suffering. Oddly, it seems to have a perverse attraction to the countries that are most highly industrialized, with large outbreaks and high death rates, especially in the United States, as well as multiple European countries, and, most recently, Brazil in South America.

While the United states represents only 4.3% of the world’s total population, statistics indicated that by the end of May, 2020, it had 29% of the total deaths from COVID-19. Why is the United States getting hit so hard?

In examining the locations of the hot spots around the globe, COVID-19 seems to especially affect large cities situated on major waterways - Wuhan, where the infection first appeared, on the Yangtze River, New York City at the mouth of the Hudson River, Boston on the Charles River, New Orleans at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi, Washington D.C. on the Potomac, and London on the Thames.

These same cities also share a common thread in their leadership role in promoting the biofuel industry. This industry is gaining traction as a way to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. An attractive feature is the ability to ship biomass loaded up on barges on the river to be transported to a destination biofuel production plant near the city. The manufactured fuels include ethanol as an additive in gasoline, biodiesel fuel for trucks and buses in the city, home heating oil, aviation biofuel, as well as biogas that can be piped into homes for cooking and heating uses.

Is there a way to link these observations to a cause-and-effect relationship? I believe there is, and the simple story is that air pollution specifically from biofuels is priming the lungs for an overzealous response to COVID-19, where excessive release of cytokines by the immune cells triggers an inflammatory response that damages the delicate lung tissues. This launches a downward spiraling cascade towards eventual death due to oxygen starvation or a thrombosis crisis from multiple small blood clots, as cellular debris clutters up the blood circulation [1].

There is a steadily increasing body of evidence pointing to air pollution as playing a causal role in acute responses to COVID-19 and increased infection rates. A study by researchers from Harvard, based on populations across the United States, showed that even a small increase in exposure to small particulate matter released in vehicle exhaust fumes leads to a substantial increased death rate from COVID-19 [2]. These tiny particulates, made up of solid soot and nucleated condensed liquids, come mostly from the exhaust of vehicles - predominantly trucks and buses – running on diesel fuel. People of color in the Northeast United States breathe in on average 66% more air pollution from vehicles than white people [3]. COVID-19 mortality for black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for whites [4].