The United States of America is currently the worst-affected country by the coronavirus pandemic. It has over 2.43M confirmed cases, nearly 1/4th of the world. America’s death toll stands at 747,000. The disease caused by this virus is a respiratory illness, and the situation in the US is about to get much worse. A massive Saharan plume is expected to enter the USA this week.
This dust plume is being considered to be the biggest and most intense Saharan plume in nearly decades.
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Let’s find out more.
WHICH PARTS OF AMERICA WILL THE SAHARAN PLUME AFFECT?
The dust cloud is currently drifting across the Atlantic and is expected to reach Southeastern parts of the country this week.
According to NBC, the cloud “could swirl into the Gulf of Mexico and waft over Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere in the Southeast in the coming days.”
The possible consequences of this dust storm are aggravated health problems, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Thomas Gill, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Texas, said –
“Dust particles are what we call particulate matter, and we know that breathing in fine particles of anything is not good for the respiratory tract — especially people who are sensitive to poor air quality.”
Even though these problems seem manageable, the ongoing pandemic will make their impact much worse.
“Things like the wildfire season, hurricane season and extreme weather events, including this dust storm, may be magnified this year because resources are already stretched thin,” Gregory Wellenius said.
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Moreover, some experts fear that the rise in pollution could pave way for higher rates of coronavirus infection.
“There is some emerging information that people who live in places with higher levels of air pollution may be at higher risk” of COVID-19, said Wellenius, a professor of environmental health.
“There may be potential interactions between air pollution and COVID symptoms or progression, but it’s still pretty early data.”