B.C. wildfire smoke likely to increase coronavirus death rates, experts warn

As B.C.’s wildfire season kicks off, experts express concern about the convergence of wildfires and COVID-19. 2017 Wall Scholar Michael Brauer (School of Population & Public Health) explained that wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, causing inflammation and altering immune function. Pollutants can also degrade cells that help filter air in our respiratory tracks, which can make one more susceptible to respiratory infections like pneumonia.

Brauer's research focuses on linkages between the built environment and human health, with a specific interest in transportation-related and biomass air pollution. While at the Peter Wall Institute, Brauer focused on developing an improved understanding of the health relationships between urban form and urban services as well as the potential to derive future health co-benefits related to urban design.