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Air Pollution Could Mean New Spike in Covid Cases

January 4, 2021
Pouyan Khoshhal
4 min read
Four cities in Mazandaran province have reverted to the red state of alert, raising fears of a new surge in coronavirus cases
Four cities in Mazandaran province have reverted to the red state of alert, raising fears of a new surge in coronavirus cases
Air pollution in 10 Iranian cities has risen to a dangerous level, aggravating the danger to high-risk groups including the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions
Air pollution in 10 Iranian cities has risen to a dangerous level, aggravating the danger to high-risk groups including the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions

Every Saturday, the National Coronavirus Taskforce reports the level of coronavirus alert in Iranian cities. During the last week in December, no city in Iran was in a red state of alert, but this week the level of alert in four cities in the northern province of Mazandaran reverted to red, raising concerns that, at least in parts of Iran, the number of coronavirus infections might rise again. At the same time, increased air pollution in metropolitan areas poses a danger, especially to those with underlying respiratory diseases.

Dr. Alireza Zali, director of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, said the third outbreak of coronavirus in Tehran has been on a downward curve, but this downward trend has moved slowly because of the density of the population, and has been aggravated by air pollution. “Air pollution hurts parts of the respiratory system and this weakens the individual in the face of coronavirus,” he said.

And Anooshirvan Mohseni Bandpey, governor of Tehran province, reported that he had asked the government for a two-day lockdown of all government and private offices and industrial units in the province. In recent days, Tehran’s air quality has been declared “unhealthy,” posing danger to high-risk groups including patients suffering from pulmonary diseases, pregnant women, children and the elderly.

According to the latest reports, air pollution in the 10 metropolitan areas of Tehran, Isfahan, Karaj, Zanjan, Arak, Ahvaz, Qazvin, Qom, Tabriz and Mashhad has reached a “dangerous” level.

 

Provinces Round-up

Compliance with health protocols across Iran has exceeded 86 percent, claimed Alireza Raeesi, spokesman for the National Coronavirus Taskforce. “Fortunately the disease is on a downward trend across the country,” he said. “Compared to five weeks ago the number of hospitalizations has fallen by almost one-fourth and the number of fatalities is now less than one-third.” Despite this good news, however, he also reported that the northern province of Mazandaran appeared to be on the verge of a third wave of coronavirus, the state of alert in four cities in the province has been elevated to red and 18 cities are in an orange state of alert.

In the last 24 hours 166 people with suspected cases of Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals under the supervision of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, reported Dr. Abbas Mousavi, president of the university. Currently 1,002 patients with coronavirus symptoms are being treated in these hospitals, 201 of them in ICUs.

Dr. Farzad Jalili, president of Babol University of Medical University, also in Mazandaran province, reported that currently 192 people with Covid-19 symptoms are being treated in hospitals associated with the university. Taken together, this means that currently 1,194 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in the province.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, approximately 23,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the city of Tehran, reported Nahid Khoda Karami, chairwoman of Tehran City Council’s Health Committee. Of this number, she said, around 14,000 were men and 9,000 were women. According to Khoda Karami, infections and fatalities in Tehran have been on a downward curve and in recent weeks the number of fatalities has been falling by 10 each day.

The number of cities in Razavi Khorasan in a yellow state of alert is currently 30. Only four cities, including the provincial capital of Mashhad, are in an orange state of alert, reported Mehdi Gholian, vice president of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. He said the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations had fallen to around 125 per day, while in late November it exceeded 400 each day.

Currently, he said, 216 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units in Razavi Khorasan. In the last 24 hours 1,086 coronavirus tests were conducted in the province, of which 22 percent were positive, whereas prior to this the positive rate had between 45 and 50 percent.

In recent weeks the rate of coronavirus infections in Bushehr has been falling as well, but in the last 24 hours, with the hospitalization of 22 new Covid-19 cases, the number increased again, although no new fatalities were reported. Currently 70 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in the province, 19 of them in intensive care units. Five people in this group of patients are hooked up to ventilators. As of January 2, the coronavirus death toll in the province stands at 839.

With the death of three other Covid-19 patients in the last 24 hours in Alborz, the official death toll in the province reached 2,588, reported Dr. Mohammad Fathi, president of Alborz University of Medical Sciences. With the hospitalization of 24 new patients, currently 344 patients with coronavirus symptoms are hospitalized in the province. The coronavirus state of alert in Alborz is currently orange.

 

Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics

In her daily briefing for January 2, the health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the last 24 hours:

Air Pollution Could Mean New Spike in Covid Cases

 

Dr. Lari reported that currently four Iranian cities are on red alert, 43 cities are in an orange state of alert and 401 are yellow.

 

This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology

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