Media Outlets Examine Relationship Between COVID-19, Environment, Climate Change

The Economist: Airborne particles may be assisting the spread of SARS-CoV-2
“Pollution and disease have long been associated in people’s minds. The very word ‘malaria,’ for example, means ‘bad air’ in Italian. But the germ theory of infection, developed in the 19th century, knocked on the head the idea that it is the air itself which causes illness. Rather, bad smells indicate sources of pathogens, such as sewage, which are best avoided. A paper just published by a group of Italian researchers does, however, posit the idea that sars-cov-2, the virus behind the covid-19 pandemic, might be getting a helping hand from atmospheric pollution…” (3/26).

The Economist: The epidemic provides a chance to do good by the climate
“In Venice, water in the canals is running clear, offering glimpses of fish swimming against the current. As human activity grinds to a halt, natural rhythms resume. A similar, less visible story is being played out in the skies. Around the world, levels of toxic air pollutants are dropping as places go into lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of sars-cov-2, the virus causing a pandemic of a new disease called covid-19. Emissions of greenhouse gases are following a similar pattern…” (3/26).

PRI: Coronavirus is changing how people think about fighting climate change
“When climate journalist Emily Atkin was asked to pledge to stop flying to help prevent climate change earlier this year, she said no. … This week, as Atkin watched the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world, she said it shook her worldview. When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, personal choices matter. One infected person staying home instead of going out could save thousands of lives. … ‘We all started to signal to each other that we had to sacrifice those things, and that in doing that, it would make a difference,’ she said. ‘And there is science right in front of me that said that in doing that, it would make a difference.’ Not unlike climate change…” (Kusmer, 3/26).