US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The coronavirus pandemic and the precautions taken in connection with it led to the suspension of industrial production and a decrease in traffic intensity.
This entailed a marked reduction in harmful emissions into the atmosphere. According to the director of the Hugo Observatory, Francois Gemenne, such an effect may turn out to be unexpectedly beneficial for humanity.
“Oddly enough, I think that the number of deaths due to coronavirus could end up being a lesser evil, given the [potential] deaths from air pollution,” says Jemenn. As an argument for his position, the scientist cites evidence that in China more than a million people die every year due to the effects caused by air pollution. According to WHO estimates, globally, this figure reaches seven million a year.
Although the death toll from Covid-19 cannot be accurately predicted, even the harshest predictions speak of several million victims around the world — not every year, but in general. Most experts agree that the “lethal yield” of the coronavirus will not be so large. Some experts draw parallels to the current pandemic with the outbreak of the 1957 influenza virus: then just over a million people died across the planet. The number of victims in a localized outbreak will be noticeably smaller.
Jemenn’s assumptions are supported by other scientists. A study by Stanford University professor Marshall Burke shows that reducing atmospheric pollution over the course of two months probably saved the lives of 4,000 children under five years old and about 73,000 elderly people in China.
Burke made such conclusions based on monitoring the concentration of PM2.5 (microparticles ranging in size from about 10 nanometers to 2.5 micrometers) in four cities of the PRC and estimating the mortality rate in the two age groups mentioned above. “Even with conservative assumptions, due to reduced pollution, about 20 times more lives were saved than were lost directly due to coronavirus,” the scientist concludes.
“What surprises me the most is that the measures that we are ready to take to fight this coronavirus are more serious than those that we agree to take to counter climate change or atmospheric pollution,” he said. , Francois Jemenn. – I think this should raise our questions: why are we much more afraid of coronavirus than climate change, air pollution or other threats. What is so special about coronavirus that we are ready to block the whole world because of this?”
According to the latest data, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the world is close to 170 thousand. The death toll is 6525 people. The leader in the number of deaths is still China (3213 deaths). In Europe, the most difficult situation in Italy: the total death toll in this country reached 1809, while on March 15 there was a record number of deaths from Covid-19.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.