How is the coronavirus spreading around the world?
The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China’s Hubei province, in late 2019. Cases of the disease it causes, COVID-19, grew by several thousand per day in China and other parts of the world.
The number of infections appearing each day, owing in large part to containment efforts, but the outbreak is now a global pandemic. The coronavirus has killed more than 27,000 people and infected over 593,000 around the world. Large outbreaks in the United States, Iran, Italy and elsewhere have propelled a spike in international cases across more than 176 countries and territories. The US surpassed China as the world’s largest outbreak on March 26. New York has more than 44,000 cases, around 7% of the world’s total.
How does COVID-19 compare to other diseases?
Current estimates of COVID-19’s case-fatality rate — a measure of the proportion of infected people who eventually die — suggest that the coronavirus is less deadly than the pathogens behind other large-scale outbreaks, such as of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Ebola.
But the infection also seems to spread more easily than other diseases, including seasonal influenza. Calculations of the virus’s basic reproduction number, or R0 — the number of people on average one infected person will pass the virus to — suggest a range of 2–2.5.
Environmental effects of COVID-19:
Levels of air pollutants and warming gases over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as coronavirus impacts work and travel.
Researchers in New York told that their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year. Emissions of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply.
New data, based on observations from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, are showing strong reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over several major cities across Europe – including Paris, Madrid, and Rome.
The new images clearly illustrate a strong reduction of nitrogen dioxide concentrations over major cities across Europe – specifically Milan, Paris, and Madrid. The satellite images show nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 14 to 25 March 2020, compared to the monthly average of concentrations from 2019.
Also known as the “beautiful country,” Italy has a vexing air-quality problem, particularly in the industrial Po Valley region where the coronavirus outbreak is at its worst. In recent years, Italians have been ordered to leave their polluting, diesel-powered cars at home on various days as smog levels exceeded health standards. Car traffic these days is at a fraction of what it once was as people have been largely confined to their homes.
Environmental and anti-coronavirus priorities should be one set of priorities. There’s no need to pick between them. Meanwhile, a near shutdown of the cruise- and cargo-ship traffic around Italy’s canal city of Venice has resulted in fish returning to the Venice lagoon and canals for the first time in decades.
In Venice, the often-murky canals recently began to get clearer, with fish visible in the water below. Italy’s efforts to limit the coronavirus meant an absence of boat traffic on the city’s famous waterways. And the changes happened quickly.
Effects on Animals:
Endangered sea turtles hatch on Brazil’s deserted beaches!
Nearly 100 critically endangered sea turtles have hatched on a deserted beach in Brazil, their first steps going almost unnoticed because of coronavirus restrictions that prohibit people from gathering on the region’s sands.
The 97 hawksbill sea turtles as they are known in Brazil, hatched last Sunday in Paulista, a town in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco.
Dolphins Spotted off the Coast!
Because of the slowdown, the animals are taking over the cities and reclaiming the space previously occupied by humans. The dolphins were spotted swimming by the port of Cagliari, which is the capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia.
However, dolphins were also seen swimming near the coast of Mumbai. This isn’t a surprise to residents. The Indian Ocean Humpback dolphins are local to the area off the coast of Mumbai and have nothing to do with the COVID-19 lockdown the city is currently under.
Wildlife conservationist Darshan Khatau said: “I have been spotting dolphin pods frequently along Malabar Hill (a district in Mumbai) over the past few years and have an extensive database. These mammals are spotted in shallow waters from the end of December till the onset of the monsoon season.”
Olive Ridley Turtles Start Nesting on Odisha Coast!
There is good news from Odisha too, where the Olive Ridley sea turtles have arrived for nesting and the lockdown is providing perfect conditions for them. They have come in thousands along the six-kilometer-long Rushikulya beach of Odisha’s Ganjam district in the last five days.
On March 22, 2,000 female Olive Ridley turtles came out of the sea to the beach. The female turtles reportedly return to the same beach from where they hatched, to lay their eggs. The coast of Odisha is the largest mass nesting site. Over 72,142 Olive Ridley turtles have arrived at the beach to dig nests and lay eggs.
Climate is no longer the crisis!
With the virus consuming everybody’s attention, the climate issue has been crowded off the agenda. On Monday, the European Parliament opted to forgo a debate on the EU’s new Climate Law after the plenary session was shortened to minimize people’s exposure. Parliament President David Sassoli then quarantined himself for two weeks.
When it comes to coronavirus, we can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This, of course, goes for all crises.
By taking immediate action to control global warming and climate change, we may never see the worst consequences. Likewise, as the world adopts cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions. Below are some practical ways we can use to battle global warming, including:
- Stop or reduce the usage of fossil fuels like carbon-intensive coal
- Practice renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, wind, and bio-energy
- Make your home and workplace energy efficient
- Change to less-carbon fuels and decrease travel miles
- Use sustainable mass transportation systems
- Stop deforestation and start afforestation
- Buy carbon offsets
- Adopt a plant-based diet
- Make food practices more sustainable
- Reduce food waste
- Invest in energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes
- Purchase biodegradable and compostable products
- Reuse, reduce and recycle waste products
- Immediately end the production and use of single-use, disposable plastic, use bamboo toothbrush, stainless steel water bottle, reusable straws, recycled cotton produce bags for shopping, groceries, etc.
- Stop development of new oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure.
- Foster the transition to zero-waste communities.
- Implement a system where polluters pay for the impact of their products – known as extended producer responsibility.
- Ensure sustainable development