New Delhi: A day after the national capital’s air quality was recorded in the ‘poor’ category, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria cautioned people and said that coronavirus cases could witness a surge if there will even a slight increase in PM 2.5 levels.Also Read - International Flights Latest News: Canada Lifts Travel Ban on Flyers From India | Read Latest Guidelines Here

“Since there is a rise in air pollution, there is data to state through certain modeling studies from China and Italy (Europe) which show that in areas where there is even a little bit of increase in PM 2.5 levels, it leads to a surge of at least 8-9% in coronavirus cases”, Gulerai said in an exclusive interview to India Today. Also Read - Archery: Gold Eludes India Yet Again at World Championships, Three Silvers Claimed

Notably, Delhi recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 208, which falls in the ‘poor’ category. The national capital’s air quality turned poor on Wednesday, the first time since June 29, with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recording a 24-hour average AQI of 215. The AQI was 230 on June 29. Also Read - Delhi School Reopening News: Resume Normal Classes For Primary, 6-8 Students, Demand Parents

Meanwhile, Guleria stated that winter will make the health crisis worse as it is the season of respiratory viruses. Guleria asserted that during winter, people tend to stay indoors, and hence there could be more crowding leading to a spike in the infection.

Besides a  study titled “COVID-19 spread in India and its dependence on temperature and relative humidity had claimed that every degree rise in temperature corresponds to a 0.99% decrease in the number of cases and an increase in doubling time by approximately 1.13 days, implying a slowing down of spread,

The study, led by V. Vinoj, Assistant Professor of the School of Earth, Ocean and Climatic Sciences at IIT-Bhubaneswar, examined the relationship between Covid-19 spread and environmental factors such as temperature, relative humidity, specific humidity, and solar radiation.

The results showed that temperature and relative humidity have a significant impact on the disease growth rate and doubling time, according to the abstract of the study posted on ResearchGate, a professional network for scientists and researchers.

Meanwhile,  India’s tally of COVID-19 cases went past the 68-lakh-mark with a total of 68,35,655 cases. The recovery rate stands at 85.02 per cent and the fatality rate at 1.55 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 14,80,489 cases, including 39,072 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.