CDPHE: Long-term pollution exposure "generally associated" to higher COVID-19 risk

Posted at 12:36 PM, Feb 19, 2021

DENVER — Colorado health officials this week released a report that shows long-term exposure to pollution is "generally associated" with higher rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the state.

The study, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, "underscores the well-established association between communities of color and COVID-19 outcomes," as people of color often live near busy highways and industrial areas, which bring higher levels of pollution.

The study found that areas with larger proportions of non-Black people of color — comprised mostly of Colorado's Hispanic community — were 31% more at risk of being infected by COVID-19, 44% more at risk of being hospitalized and 59% more at risk of dying.

Areas with larger proportions of Black residents had a 4% greater risk of being infected and 7% greater risk of being hospitalized. The study also suggested those areas have a higher risk of COVID-19 death but those findings were not considered statistically significant, according to the CDPHE.

The study was part of CDPHE's effort toward equity in its response to COVID-19, including support for free community testing, providing pandemic information in six languages and monitoring vaccine distribution data by race/ethnicity groups, age and gender.

Read the full pollution report and its analysis of COVID-19 cases.