Coronavirus

in StemSocial11 months ago

Preface

A small change in conditions has significantly altered global behaviors and politics. A novel, never-before-seen virus spread from the lands of China to virtually every populated part of our planet. At the onset of the disease, the medical industry knew nothing about COVID-19 and its effects on the human body.

Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

Introduction

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Welcome, fellow sentient beings, to our ninth installment in the Environmental Impact Series entitled "Coronavirus." In this blog, we compare observations of the environment before, and after, countries across the globe implemented quarantine measures meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The virus itself did not directly lead to the observations we cover in today's post. Instead, the uncertainty and fear of the illness it causes forced us to minimize the impact of those infected upon the health care industry.

Sounding the Alarm

Chinese scientists, unofficially and officially, provided the earliest, generally acceptable, warning to regulatory agencies across the planet. The direct recognition of the new pathogen appears to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China. Despite the warnings, however, it still spread throughout the globe and in rapid order.

Taking Action

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

The new illness left us unprepared to combat the disease head-on through isolation of infected patients. Identification and isolation is the best-known method of limiting the spread of past pandemics, and countries began employing it to mitigate infections. Most of them, however, eventually followed suit and started the process of shutting down normal business processes, as well as any activities that would put people close to each other.

Staying the Course

While countries acted to limit COVID-19's spread, scientists rush to develop a vaccine, if at all possible, to combat the effects of COVID-19. For many of Earth's inhabitants, the sprint to isolate and adjust to COVID-19 prevention guidelines has become a marathon of waiting, patience, and adjustment. At the same time, the medical industry works to limit infection and hospitalization rates within manageable capacity.

While Humanity Waited

Society's quarantine guidelines impact its people globally. For many countries still, you are not allowed to go out unless you followed government guidelines for "essential" activities. In many areas, going out to public places requires the use of a face mask. Typical modes of transportation now became more restricted.

What happens to the planet when billions of people limit their pollution of it?

The World Begins to Heal

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

Los Angeles, California

Chuck Bennet, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Smog in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, is the norm. The effects of little rainfall, coupled with heat and sunlight, cause industrial gases to accumulate in the breathable atmosphere. These accumulated gases receive the "smog" moniker. At high enough concentrations, the presence of smog irritates our lungs and causes us discomfort. If we are exposed to it for long enough periods, the exposure may lead to various diseases.

Enter COVID-19

Restricting travel and business to essential services reduced the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) generally released to the atmosphere. The lower rate of GHG release, coupled with increased rains in the area, produced a drastic visual effect in the LA air quality.

Venice

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Venice, similar to Los Angeles, suffers air pollution, but perhaps not to the same degree. Where hundreds of thousands of cars roam the LA roads, Venice's main mode of transportation is via boats. Where cars pollute the air in LA, boats with gas or diesel engines may leak into the surrounding waters.

Enter COVID-19

A typical theme of this post will again point out that the reduced business activities and travel during the pandemic allowed for the Venice environment to clear up. Reduced boat travel means that sediment at the bottom of the canals doesn't muddy up the waters. Additionally, boat engines aren't releasing the same amount of GHGs into the air. The result is Venice canals with clear water with fishes and dolphins returning for leisurely swims.

Water and Sediment

Clearer water appears more appealing to people within Venice, but it isn't the only positive resulting from COVID-19 controls. Sediment within the water typically disrupts the food chain present in the area. The presence of sediment might also lead to the formation of blue-green algae that release poisons into the city. It is uncertain, at this time, what harmful effect the presence of sediment holds in Venice. The return of fish and dolphins to the area, however, shows a return to balance not ordinarily evident in this city.

Video Summary - Venice

India

Earth Sky Voices, EarthSky.org

While some countries chose not to implement COVID-19 guidelines as restrictive as others, India took aggressive action independently. They severely limited businesses, as well as the movement of their citizenry. The environmental effects of their efforts were almost immediate.

Nitrogen dioxide concentration in the air dropped immediately after their first week of lockdown. The levels of this gas have continued to lower.

China

Lauren Sommer, NPR

China arguably had the most restrictive policies in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. They are also a country with practice in limiting business and citizenry activity. During the 2008 Olympics, they limited business activities and transportation to improve air quality. Also, given their actions during other outbreaks within their borders, citizens are practiced in implementing protective measures to prevent infection.

Akin to every other country on this list, air pollution dropped significantly due to their efforts to combat COVID-19. Unfortunately, like every other country, their return to day-to-day activities with also restore those levels of pollution.

Video Summary

Nitrogen Dioxide

Health Effects

Science and industry are well aware of the effects of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) on human health. Inhaling this gas inflames the lining of the lungs. Increased exposure leads to increase risk of respiratory diseases.

Health effects following exposure, however, extend to people with much more weakened immunity responses. Researchers found that pregnant women exposed to air pollution during their third trimester had children whose birth rate was lower than those unexposed.

Environmental Effects

Under certain conditions, the accumulation of NO2 and other NOx compounds in the air leads to acid rain formation and release. The release of NO2 also leads to nutrient pollution in water if it becomes deposited.

Balance and Imbalance

Life perpetuates by achieving a balance within its environment. We see this all the time when observing nature. Introduce something foreign into the mix and chaos ensues until that foreign body becomes part of the ecosystem or the system collapses.

In terms of COVID-19 and society, pulling ourselves partially out of the usual activities shows us how our acts of pollution affect the planet. It also shows us where we are headed if we promptly return to "business as usual."

Video Summary

European Space Agency

What can Society Do?

image.pngImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Utilize situational awareness in your surroundings. Employ a sense of continuous improvement in your lives. Take a look around you and ask if there's any way you can do something better for less of an impact upon the environment. If you've checked and your answer is no, try to promote a more straightforward and less pollutive lifestyle. For instance, if you're one of the multiple millions of people using gas to commute daily, try minimizing your travels to what is required.

Humanity in Review


image.pngImage by wal_172619 from Pixabay

It seems evident that human beings play a significant role in climate change. Our behaviors require that businesses produce many of the products we think we need at the lowest possible cost. What wonders would our world behold if man and Earth were friends from birth?

In Closing


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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Thanks again for following on with this series. I look forward to presenting you with additional activities that focus on Humanity in the future.

Each topic presented poses different challenges during research. It is essential to cite all available references for this work to ensure that all readers can validate the information presented as they desire. The goal, ultimately, is the dissemination of accurate and thoughtful information. Unfortunately, some topics are more difficult to research than others.

Your thoughts?


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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How do you feel about the information presented today? Do you have any stories to share of struggle, survival, science, or love? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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Your article is very extensive and well organised. Thanks for collecting all of this information.

Sincerely, there are so many fake news these days that it becomes nearly impossible to tell the difference between truth and lies... as such, I don't really know what to think of all of it.

In my mind, there's a fear that all of it is just a big and elaborated plan to send humanity back into the times of dictatorship. 🤔

Thank you for the compliment. The difficulty lies in separating fact from fiction. Fortunately, there are ample reputable sources to pull data from.

There is truth to your words. The very acts governments take during this pandemic speak of dictatorships. There's a good reason to feel this way. The government tells you, in no uncertain terms, when you're allowed to leave your home and why. It...dictates which businesses may open and for how long all in the name of public safety.

The public, depending upon which public, might have a low tolerance for patience and it's also understandable. Poorly communicated information adds to the frustration of the populace. For instance, the CDC first doesn't recommend the use of face masks so no one wears them around where I live. Later, the CDC recommended face masks. These last two sentences are what people will generally hear in the media. Very little explanation is added.

Next, people report research results as fact. They don't include the understanding that research continues and their reports may change based upon them.

Very informative and well structured post
You comprehensively explained quite a lot about the Corona Virus. I must admit, I learnt a lot from this but...

Akin to every other country on this list, air pollution dropped significantly due to their efforts to combat COVID-19. Unfortunately, like every other country, their return to day-to-day activities with also restore those levels of pollution.

To dwell on this amidst other areas as an Environmental person, I think amidst the lockdown priority attention should be focused on Waste management as well alongside the focus geared towards the Public health sector. A digressing though...
To the highlighted point..Truly, Air pollution will resurface following the lockdown relax...
Holistically, an adjustment of life is obtainable thanks or no thanks to the pandemic

Thank you for responding. Your thoughts on prioritizing waste management are spot-on. I don't believe, however, that society as a whole forward-thinks to that degree.

I try to relax as best as possible regarding these observations. Though, I admit, it's frustrating given how naturally we are willing to return to our old devices. I appreciate the recommendation.

I see evidence of a much higher focus in the public health sector where I live. People are much more agreeable towards wearing masks. Businesses require masks where I live the way they expect people to wear shoes and shirts. It comforts me to know that people now listen.

Thank you for the engaging conversation!

Thank for putting up such a thoughtful post.
It has inspired me to wanting to write on another dimension of covid-19 "waste management"

I think that’s a great idea. I find that society chooses to ignore less exciting aspects of day to day life when they should embrace it. Like many things waste management serves a vital role. Perhaps not everyone can take part in it, but we all certainly contribute to it.

The only way to make real difference for the better would be if all humanity changes its way of life, that is, begin to prioritize long term benefits instead of instant satisfaction. This primarily applies to those who have the power to decide on activities that affect millions of people; instead for every good idea that could help heal the planet (and make for humans better place to live) to say "it doesn.t pay off" they should embrace and fund projects in favor of renewable energy and recycling...
From one side, COVID19 has brought us temporary decrease in air pollution bur form the other, did you see what is happening with endless wasted masks, gloves and other protective accessories that millions of people are throwing away around the world? Just as we timidly begun with banishing one time use plastics, we have new issue but no one is talking about it.
Every crisis is opportunity for a change, for better or worse. I.m afraid that we didn.t learn much form this one...

Thank you for sharing your viewpoint and support. I have to agree with your assessment. Hopefully, the observations I've posted becomes ingrained in at least some people. In this manner, the concept of human pollution of the Earth becomes a more significant issue for all people.

Indeed I saw the change in waste distribution from the use of masks. It seems as though people aren't learning and, instead, continue to irresponsibly contribute to our waste pile-ups. I'm not sure why people do the things they do. In this case, it's just a lack of concern on their part. I'm certain that if people started throwing trash in someone's own home they would pay attention.

Pollution, waste management, and health concerns for this pandemic continue to evolve. Let's hope we collectively learn and work to improve society as we progress forward.

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Thank you for your unfailing support @scholaris, really appreciated!

Best article I've seen till now about coronavirus.

well done.

Thank you very much @ashikstd. I appreciate the positive feedback. The article seemed pretty straight forward to write. There were so many examples of how the health of the environment improved when the pandemic reduced the number of people contributing to pollution.

The most surprising aspect of the article was the almost palpable "tug-of-war" between minimizing the spread of the virus and people returning to their "normal" way of life. So much passion is involved for both that I'm almost unsurprised that it seems as though nothing gets done.

Have a great day and thank you for the support.

Great

Very good this articel..