A recent study suggests populations living at high altitudes may be less susceptible to COVID-19.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — People who grew up at high elevations might be less susceptible to the novel coronavirus, according to a recent study of the virus’ impact in high altitude communities like Summit County. 

> Video: Latest COVID-19 headlines: Tuesday, March 19

The study, which was published by the “Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology” journal, compared case data for the virus among communities in Bolivia, Tibet and Ecuador and found that cities and towns in higher elevations have reported fewer COVID-19 cases. 

According to Bolivia’s Ministry of Health website La Paz, Bolivia, has reported 328 cases of the virus and Santa Cruz, Bolivia has reported 2,300 cases as of Friday. La Paz sits 11,943 feet above sea level with a population of 2.7 million people. Santa Cruz is 1,365 feet above sea level with a population of 1.6 million people. For some context, Breckenridge is 9,600 feet above sea level.

“This is data that strongly suggests that high altitude is protective,” said Dr. Gustavo Zubieta-Calleja, director of the High Altitude Pulmonary and Pathology Institute in La Paz and one of the researchers on the study.

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