By Iain McLaren, SNP councillor for Dumbarton

For people with lung conditions, Covid-19 is a particular risk, especially if pneumonia develops.

With our relatively high population share of older and disabled residents in West Dunbartonshire, we have many residents who suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), lung cancer, emphysema, or bronchitis, making breathing difficult.

Asthma affects both the young and old, and can also be fatal in severe cases.

New research from scientists studying European countries over one month of lockdown reported this week that the reduced air pollution levels have saved more than 11,000 lives in Britain.

Across Europe, cleaner air has meant 600 fewer premature births and 6,000 fewer new cases of childhood asthma, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

While this is no consolation for the terrible loss of life and suffering caused by the pandemic, it does show that we can reduce loss of life from lung-related health problems.

A second piece of new research this week has raised the possibility that Covid-19 germs could potentially be able to survive longer, and travel further, on the tiny particles in polluted air, than they do in clean air.

So one more thing we can do to help at-risk people in our community is to keep fumes to a minimum – whether that means no bonfire in the garden, or just keeping the car ignition off until you’re absolutely ready to drive away.

Despite the struggle to keep body and soul together, a lot of people have talked about enjoying moments of peace, such as the time to take a walk outdoors, or just sit and listen to birds singing.

Many people have spoken of a hope for a new normal rather than return to “business as usual” – one where we are allowed to value our health and that of our loved ones above all.

A world where taking time to protect our mental and physical well-being is not constantly pushed onto the back burner by other pressures.

A world where shop staff, care workers, bin lorry staff, postal workers and delivery drivers are properly respected and recognised.

Finally, can I ask you all to share the following contact information with anyone you know who is in need of financial or practical support due to Covid-19?

Advice is available on the council’s website at or you can simply text the word “help” to 07800 002 582. People are there to help.