Los Angeles is known for many things, but good air quality is not one of them. Most days, the city skyline is full of smog and other air pollutants. But due to the stay at home orders, the Los Angeles sky is clear.
In fact, it had the cleanest air quality of any major city of similar size.
Since March began, Los Angeles has experienced the longest stretch of “good” air quality since 1995. The biggest factor in this decrease, according to experts, is the significant drop in cars on the road.
With residents only leaving their homes for necessities, there are barely any cars on the road compared to the norm.
Air Quality Linked to COVID-19 Deaths
A new report has made the connection between COVID-19 deaths and air pollution. Patients with pre-existing conditions raise the risk of death, but the report found that these conditions are all linked to prolonged exposure to air pollution.
This means that people that live in highly polluted areas are far more susceptible to COVID-19.
According to the report, the biggest contributor to the spike in deaths is exposure to PM2.5. For every 1 μg/m³ of PM2.5 exposure, a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate was found.
This PM2.5 comes from many sources, but the primary is from car exhausts, which makes the stay at home order better than anyone knew.
Not Just Los Angeles
Los Angeles is not the only city experiencing significantly lower levels of air pollution. Most cities around the world are seeing the same thing and for the same reason.
However, it is important to remember that this will not last. The moment it is safe for workers and students to return to their normal life, pollution will resume as normal.
And it will most likely be worse than before to make up for lost time.