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Medical specialists concerned about increased risk of coronavirus spread due to wildfire pollution

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Salt Lake City, Utah — According to Utah doctors it is very dangerous — this weekend’s wave of wildfire pollution that moved in at the same time as a coronavirus surge.

According to Dr. Petronella Adomako, infectious disease specialist at McKay-Dee Hospital, they are seeing more cases of COVID-19 in younger patients and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Yes, it is concerning because when you have all this particulate material in the air, it can cause irritation of the airways. And when your airways are irritated, it predisposes to super-imposed infection, and that can be a viral infection or bacterial infection. So yes, I would be concerned about a higher incidence of the probability of one acquiring COVID,” said Adomako.

Medical specialists say periods of air pollution also increase the risk of other things like heart attack and stroke.

Utah’s hospitals are currently caring for 375 patients with COVID-19, and intensive care unit beds are 80% full, with 164 critical COVID-19 patients and others.

And this comes as Utah emergency room doctors said they are seeing an uptick in those coming to the ER for pollution and respiratory issues.

“We know our staff in hospitals are getting overwhelmed,” said Adomako. “It’s becoming distressing to see very sick people in the hospital. (Our doctors and nurses) are becoming overburdened.”

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