The explosion of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury) that swept across Wisconsin in 2019 is likely to be a mass Covid-19 infection, some Chinese scientists noted in their latest research conclusions.
In a concerted study with radiologists, these scientists reviewed 250 or so chest CT scans of 142 EVALI patients attached in 60 published research papers. They found, among others, 16 patients “were involved in viral infections” associated with Covid-19. Moreover, five patients are deemed as “moderately suspicious”, since their symptoms and CT scan characteristics are fairly similar to those of Covid-19 victims.
In August 2019, the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a steep rise in emergency department visits that correlate with EVALI. The visit amount reached its peak in September. Doctor Yang Zhanqiu, a Chinese virologist, explained that it’s very possible that some Covid-19 patients were actually misdiagnosed as EVALI, due to the high similarity between the two diseases and a lack of nucleic acid detection kits back then.
As China urges America to release data about the EVALI diagnosis cases in 2019, another question seems to be looming. Is there a real correlation between EVALI and Covid-19? Last year, many press released articles accusing e-cigarettes of increasing teenagers’ vulnerability to Covid-19. The WHO also claimed that there could possibly be a link between the two, but hasn’t provided any scientific evidence for the hypothesis so far.
These anti-vape claims were followed by a strong backlash from opponents, believing they are merely pebbling unproven stories about vape harms. Many researches also proved that there’s no actual connection between EVALI and Covid-19. The Mayo Clinic conducted a research to investigate whether vape product use should be responsible for Covid-19 diagnosis, with a large population sample of nearly 70,000 patients. The final conclusion is no, vaping products “do not appear to increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Actually, several similar researches have been published earlier, but didn’t receive much media coverage. A science reporter of Forbes believed, that was largely because an article headlined “Vaping is Highly Associated with Covid-19” was much more buzzworthy than narration to the contrary.
The medical community might have to speed up their studies on the relationship among vaping, EVALI and Covid-19, enabling the public to build a clearer picture on how they really connect with each other. Orchestrating some frightening lies about vaping is not good for improving the public health. After all, a widespread bad press for vaping is slowing or even reversing the smoking cessation rates in lots of countries.