Local doctor doubtful of connection between pollen and COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new study shows when there is an increase in pollen there can be a spike in COVID-19 infections.

However, UTHSC Dean Scott Strome is doubtful about a correlation between an increase in pollen and COVID-19.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

He said a person is more likely to get a bacterial infection from allergies, not a viral infection.

“I wouldn’t get overblown about pollen being involved with this particular, I wouldn’t get excited by all that,” said Strome.

Strome said to tap the brakes when it comes to a new study tying in an increase in pollen to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

The study, done by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences,  said pollen can suppress the immune system’s response to the virus.

“You can get inflammation of the lining of your nose and inflammation of the lining of the back of your throat whether that enhances viral uptick that to me is pretty unclear,” said Strome.

RELATED: Pollen could increase coronavirus infection susceptibility, study suggests

The study also looks at population density, temperature, restrictions and humidity on a daily basis.

Researchers said pollen may cause the body to drop its defense against the virus and cause the infection.

However, Strome argued it would be difficult to prove because a lot of people struggle with allergies.

He said people are more likely to get a bacterial infection from allergies versus a virus.

Overall, he believes people should be more aware of the COVID-19 variants and focused on getting the vaccines.

“In most folks, we do not see significant pulmonary symptoms so I don’t believe this is really going to change significantly folks response to the virus.”