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Corona Virus Deaths and Pollution

Corona Virus Deaths and Pollution

Contini and Costabile (2020) report that COVID-19 manifests with fever, shortness of breath, chills, and cough. Findings indicate that prolonged exposure to air pollution worsens the prognosis of COVID-19. Essentially, prolonged exposure to air pollution increases COVID-19-related mortalities by approximately 11 percent (Contini & Costabile, 2020). As such, regions with the highest levels of air pollution should implement strict measures to prevent COVID-19-related deaths. This paper evaluates a scientific source authored by Pozzer et al. (2020) and a media source authored by Martel (2020). The hypothesis by Pozzer et al. (2020) states that chronic exposure to ambient fine particulate air pollution increases the incidence of COVID-19-related mortalities. The hypothesis is presented correctly in the media source.

Comparing and Contrasting The Scientific Source and The Media Source

The Research Methods

On the one hand, in the scientific source, Pozzer et al. (2020) described their method of study exhaustively. The authors used a global atmospheric chemistry general circulation model (EMAC) to generate simulations of atmospheric parameters such as climate change and air pollution. Furthermore, Pozzer et al. (2020) conducted sensitivity calculations. These calculations were accomplished using emissions from fossil fuels and anthropogenic-related emissions. The authors used the findings from the EMAC to estimate the proportion of particulates in the atmosphere. Model-integrated satellite data was used to determine the annual particulate atmospheric concentrations.

The authors used the World Health Organization’s exposure-response formula to calculate the relative risk of extra COVID-19 deaths resulting from prolonged exposure to air pollution. According to the authors, the relative risk is dependent on the concentration of air pollutants. Additionally, the relative risk signifies the annual mean exposure of a specific location. The relative risk is obtained by dividing the pollutant by the pollutant threshold that does not affect the public. The authors assume that long-term exposure to air pollution has a comparable impact on severe acute respiratory syndrome and COVID-19 mortality. They transformed the Chinese Air Pollution Index (API), which served as the foundation for the severe acute respiratory syndrome investigation, to pollutant values by using empirical connections from the literature.

Pozzer et al. (2020) calculated the attributable factor by subtracting the reciprocal of the relative risk from one. The authors used global attributable factors to determine local and regional attributable factors. This was based on population density and distributions. The authors obtained population data from the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). On the other hand, the media article by Martel (2020) does not identify the method of study used by the authors of the scientific source.

Results, Analysis, and Research Conclusions

Figure 1. Regional percentages of COVID-19 deaths linked to fossil fuel and anthropogenic air pollution sources Pozzer et al. (2020).

On the one hand, Pozzer et al.’s (2020) findings indicate that in areas with rigorous requirements for air quality, only a tiny percentage of COVID-19 mortality is determined to be linked to human-made air pollution. East Asia, central Europe, and the USA have relatively high proportions of air pollution of approximately thirty-five percent, twenty-five percent, and twenty-five percent, respectively. Around the world, anthropogenic air pollution accounts for an average of 15 percent of COVID-19 mortality. According to the authors, this would have been averted by adopting Australian air quality rules; for example, the permitted annual pollutant levels are 8mg/m3. The use of fossil fuels accounts for around 56 percent of all anthropogenic emissions globally. The most significant percentages of emissions occur in America,  Asia, and Europe, with proportions of approximately eighty-three percent, seventy-five percent, and sixty-eight percent, respectively.

Pozzer et al. (2020) report that inflammation caused by air pollution makes individuals vulnerable and less resilient. Additionally, comorbidities increase the host’s vulnerability. Findings indicate that air pollution is interrelated with type 2 diabetes, predisposes individuals to obesity and insulin resistance, and is associated with adverse outcomes such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and blood pressure elevation. The risk of death in COVID-19 is significantly increased by comorbidities, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and respiratory illnesses, all of which are adversely impacted by air pollution. Additionally, it appears likely that fine particulates lengthen infectious viruses’ atmospheric lifetimes, favoring transmission. Pozzer et al. (2020) argue that further investigation will uncover additional mechanisms that identify the relationship between air pollution and COVID-19-related deaths.

Further, according to the authors, the severity of COVID-19 outcomes is significantly influenced by chronic exposure to significant quantities of delicate particulate matter. The authors focused on this pollutant (air pollution) since anthropogenic sources, which are theoretically preventable, account for the majority of air pollution in China and the USA. According to the authors, their findings for the USA and China are in proper alignment with recent studies, which demonstrate that the association between air pollution and increased mortality rates holds across a wide range of nations. However, the relative risk calculations and the attributable factor to death estimates rely on utilizing information obtained from ecological studies. As such, the study has various limitations. The authors argue that the data used for China is subject to significant uncertainty. In addition, the data is based on the supposition that the comorbidity and deaths associated with air pollution in COVID-19 are comparable to those in severe acute respiratory syndrome.

On the other hand, the media article by Martel (2020) did not provide or summarize the scientific article comprehensively. This is evidenced by the failure to highlight the method of study used by Pozzer et al. (2020). Furthermore, the media article is likely to present biased information because it reports extensively about China, whereas the scientific article focuses on the global perspective. For example, the media article deviated from the scope of the scientific article and addressed the allegations that China is underreporting the incidences of COVID-19. This could be a source of bias for the reader since it distorts the main objective of the scientific article. However, the media article captured critical details regarding the findings of the scientific article. For example, the media article highlighted the percentage of global mortalities that are attributable to air pollution.


In conclusion, media articles should summarize information comprehensively to avoid bias and distortion of information. Furthermore, they should uphold objectivity and avoid the distortion of information. The scientific article by Pozzer et al. (2020) argues that the severity of COVID-19 outcomes is significantly influenced by chronic exposure to significant quantities of delicate particulate matter. According to the authors, only a tiny percentage of COVID-19 mortalities are linked to human-made air pollution in areas with rigorous requirements for air quality, such as Australia. Further investigation will uncover additional mechanisms that identify the relationship between air pollution and COVID-19-related deaths.


Contini, D., Costabile, F. (2020). Does Air Pollution Influence COVID-19 Outbreaks? 1, 19–23.

Martel, F. (2020). Study: Over 1 in 4 Coronavirus Deaths in China Linked to Pollution.

Pozzer, A., Dominici, F., Haines, A., Witt, C., Münzel, T., & Lelieveld, J. (2020). Regional and global contributions of air pollution to the risk of death from COVID-19. Cardiovascular Research, 116(14), 2247–2253.


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The student will compose a brief essay comparing and contrasting scientific communication, including the role science plays in contemporary society (DSL 200.1), distinguishing between science and pseudoscience, and identifying when science is misrepresented in the media (DSL 200.3). The scientific data must be from a reputable source(s) and must be accurately interpreted and cited (DSL 200.4). Additional reliable sources may be referred to as needed or required.

Corona Virus Deaths and Pollution

Corona Virus Deaths and Pollution

The first source listed at the bottom is a news article discussing the primary study listed below. The best strategy is first to read and understand the abstract of the scientific study. Abstracts often contain summaries of all parts of the scientific method. Further details can be uncovered by reading the paper, but most information required for the assignment can be found in the abstract. It is recommended that students attempt to read the entire scientific paper to understand the details of the study. There may be scientific jargon in the paper, so do your best to look up terms and notations commonly used to understand what the study is discussing thoroughly. If further help is needed to understand the jargon, please reach out, and I will do my best to assist.

Once students have read and understood what the study says, they should then move on to reading the news article that is reporting the details of that study. Students should then be able to evaluate how effectively the information is communicated to the lay public in the news article. Students should look for any inaccuracies, omissions, or misrepresentations in the news article and point them out with specific examples. Incidents of well-reported sections of the study should also be highlighted with examples where possible.
Wherever possible, students should use the concepts described in the Communications Module on how proper scientific reporting should be conducted. Try to focus on examples of good scientific reporting illustrated while pointing out any areas of poor scientific reporting that deserve appropriate criticism. Bear in mind that a news article will never be as detailed as the original study. Still, they should relate the critical information to their audience with sufficient detail and context without misleading the audience in any way.

For full details on the evaluation, please refer to the grading rubric below. The journal includes the following processes and requirements:

Introduction-1 paragraph

Start with an engaging attention-getter, and introduce the topic of the paper by identifying the scientific observations/problems addressed by the media communication and in the scientific communication;
Identify which source is the media or secondary source and which source is the scientific or primary source;
Write a valid hypothesis statement for the scientific article/study and explain if the hypothesis is presented correctly in the media source;

Body-4-6 paragraphs

Compare and contrast each of the remaining sections of the scientific method, including research methods (experiment or methods & materials), results including data table/chart analysis (Note: I require one data chart at minimum from the scientific study to be included in the paper along with the student’s interpretation of the data), and research conclusions comparing what is stated in the media source and the scientific source, and then noting how they’re the same or different;
Provide a summary of the quality of reporting based on the compare and contrast analysis, keeping in mind that while a scientific news report does not have to be as detailed as the study it’s based on, it does need to provide good detail and context of the information for the reader (please refer to lecture materials on this subject presented in the communications module);

Conclusion-1 paragraph

Move into a conclusion by providing a transition statement that indicates the paper is wrapping up.
Summarize the key points in your paper, focusing on the compare and contrast analysis as well as the summary of the quality of journalism.
Have a definitive closing statement that wraps up your paper in a meaningful way without making any new claims.

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