Healthy environments and the impact of COVID

By Jennifer Cagide-Alexander Assoc. AIA posted 06-12-2020 15:52

  

As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the lives and wellbeing of citizens across the world, there is growing evidence that our unhealthy environment has an impact on making us both more susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19 and also more likely to experience severe outcomes. For example, people who are exposed to air pollution are 15% more likely to have increased risk of severe outcomes or death from COVID-19.

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the way we live our lives. As we shelter in place and disrupt our daily work and leisure routines, our new routines have had positive and negative effects on our environment.  Studies have shown a reduction in fossil fuel emissions, improved air quality, and wildlife.  While some point to the positive effects on environment, it is important to note there have been some negative effects, such as increased medical waste, decrease in recycling programs and increase amount of waste in individual households.  While these effects we are experiencing are temporary due to sheltering in place, the question remains, how will we move forward?  What changes will we bring about to improve our healthy environments, as we are increasingly finding that our lives depend on it.

The following links are a sample of studies and observations on COVID-19 Environmental impacts:

Gardiner, Beth.  “Pollution made COVID-19 worse. Now, lockdowns are clearing the air.” National Geographic, April 8. 2020

The Unexpected Environmental Consequences of Covid-19” Bloomberg News, March 30, 2020.

Goldbaum, Elizabeth. “NASA Probes Environment, COVID-19 Impacts, Possible Links,” April 29, 2020.

Sternlicht, Alexandra. “[video]COVID-19 Effects On The Environment.” Forbes, April 20, 2020 

 “[video]Coronavirus: Good for the environment? Covid-19 Special.” DW News, April 1, 2020 

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