A report by the American Lung Association released Tuesday states that about half of Americans breathe unhealthy air and there is environmental pollution in nine cities in the west of the country.
The annual “State of the Air” report describes that climate change continues to worsen air pollution and notes that amid the coronavirus pandemic, which strikes the lungs, the state of air quality is “of great concern.” .
The document, which analyzes data collected in 2016, 2017 and 2018, says that these three years are among the five hottest on record in history, and climate change patterns promote forest fires whose dangerous fumes contribute to increased pollution.
“The report found that air quality in some communities has improved, but … there are still too many people breathing in unhealthy air,” said the president and CEO of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer.
This degraded air quality threatens everyone, particularly children, older adults, and people living with lung disease.
“Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of lung infections,” added Wimmer. “Protecting everyone from COVID-19 and other lung infections is an urgent reminder of the importance of clean air.”
The annual reports of the American Lung Association focus on the two most common outdoor air pollutants: ozone and particulate. Both are dangerous to public health and can be deadly.
The unhealthy particles in the air come from forest fires, wood stoves, coal-fired power plants, diesel engines, and other sources. These microscopic particles lodge deep in the lungs and can even enter the bloodstream.
Contamination with particulate can cause asthma attacks, cardiac arrests and heart attacks, and cause lung cancer. New research also links air pollution to the development of serious diseases like asthma and dementia.
Ozone pollution, often referred to as smog, is a powerful respiratory irritant whose effects have been described as heat stroke of the lung.
Breathing ozone can cause shortness of breath and cause coughs and asthma attacks that could shorten life. The warmer temperatures caused by climate change make ozone formation easier and more difficult to clean.
The report has two lines for particulate contamination: one for “short-term” particulate contamination – or one-day increases – and another for the “annual” level that represents the concentration of particles day after day at each location.
The report notes that the 10 cities in the United States with the highest long-term particulate contamination are: Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California; Bakersfield, California; San José-San Francisco-Oakland, California; Fairbanks, Alaska; Yakima, Washington; Los Angeles-Long Beach, California; Missoula, Montana; Redding-Red Bluff, California; Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah, and Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona
The 10 cities with the highest annual particulate pollution are: Bakersfield, California; Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California; Visalia, California; Los Angeles-Long Beach, California; San José-San Francisco-Oakland, California; Fairbanks, Alaska; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; El Centro, California; Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pennsylvania-Ohio-West Virginia, and Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The 10 cities with the highest ozone pollution are: Los Angeles-Long Beach, California; Visalia, California; Bakersfield, California; Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California; Sacramento-Roseville, California; San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, California; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; San José-San Francisco-Oakland, California; Las Vegas-Henderson, Nevada, and Denver-Aurora, Colorado.
The report also mentions the four cities with the cleanest air in the United States: Bangor, Maine; Burlington-South Burlington-Barre, Vermont; Honolulu, Hawaii, and Wilmington, North Carolina.
“The science is clear,” said Wimmer. “The nation needs greater limits on ozone and particulate pollution to safeguard the health, especially of children and people with lung diseases.”
Gustavo Quintero, president of the Colombian Association of Medical Schools says that they offered to graduate nearly 2,700 doctors early to incorporate them into the workforce in the midst of the pandemic, but that some are being sent to other areas where the need is not high.
Faced with this situation experienced by the pandemic of coronavirusMany people look for the necessary measures to protect themselves from it and therefore strengthen their immune system. A clear example of this is what happens with Bolivians who trust the ancient medicine to avoid spreading it.
As with Remedios Yujra, 42, who inhales the vapor of a fusion of herbs that are ancestral used by the Aymara with the aim of purifying their lungs, this while going through a nebulizer chamber that was installed in the Bolivian Andean city of The tall.
As well as Remedios, hundreds and hundreds of Bolivians have faith in the properties of eucalyptus, chamomile and wira wira, antibacterial, febrifuge, expectorant and sweat plants, which according to traditional doctors, are of great help in creating an immunological mantle. against coronavirus.
After the above and contextualizing, Remedios explained that he feels “very nice, pure steam with medicinal plants, How nice ”, this after leaving the first of the ten cameras that will be placed in the Alto Lima neighborhood of the city of El Alto, which is 3,800 meters above sea level and borders La Paz; It is mostly inhabited by Aymara migrants.
Plants used by Bolivians
The Inca Roca Traditional Doctors Association, who installed the booth, changed the usual sodium hypochlorite nebulizer for a boiled eucalyptus, wira wira (huira huira) and chamomile; These plants are used by Bolivians when they have a cold.
It is worth mentioning that the traditional medicinel Judith Condori Apaza pointed out that: “We are preventing the coronavirus, because with a cold, a cough the pandemic can start (to spread).” Stresses that in one way or another this is a cure against the situation that exists worldwide; Pulzo information.
Remedios Yujra, 42, deeply breathes in the mist of a cooking herbs formerly used by the Aymara to purify their lungs as they pass through a mist chamber installed in the Bolivian Andean city of El Alto.
Like Remedios, thousands of Bolivians rely on the beneficial properties of eucalyptus, wira wira, and chamomile, antibacterial plants, expectorant, febrifuge, and sweat which, according to traditional doctors, help to create an immune blanket against the coronavirus.
It feels “very nice, pure steam with medicinal plants, how cute!” Exclaimed Remedios after leaving the first of the ten plastic craft chambers that will be installed in the Alto Lima neighborhood of the city of El Alto, 3,800 meters above sea level and neighbor of La Paz, inhabited mostly by Aymara migrants.
The association of traditional Inca Roca Doctors, who installed the cabin, replaced the usual sodium hypochlorite nebulizer with a boiled eucalyptus, wira wira (huira huira) and manzanilla, plants that the Bolivian indigenous people use when they have colds. The national pharmacy also has these plants in their dosage, for example in antitussives.
With this initiative “we are preventing coronavirus, because a cold, a cough can start (to spread) the pandemic”Says the traditional doctor Judith Condori Apaza, who points out that this is in no way a cure against the evil that is unrestrainedly attacking the planet.
“Inhale and exhale forcefully, so we are going to help (the steam) enter the lungs and free the airways”, One of Condori’s colleagues indicates to a neighbor from El Alto inside the chamber.
“We are aware that this virus is first lodged in the airways and has a small capsule that we can remove, which weakens with these medicinal plants,” explains the doctor to the man who has just been treated with plant vapors.
The procedure “more than anything is preventive”, says Felipe Néstor Quilla, vice minister of Natural Medicine.
“At this time We do not have to offer a cure, but what we are doing is helping methods through medicinal plants to mainly prevent“He clarifies when asked if he thinks that these plants will help stop the pandemic.
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Is about “strengthen the immune system. The steam is impregnated in the porosity of the body protecting it from harmful microorganisms and bacterias ”, explains Quilla.
Pulmonologist Andrei Miranda, a doctor at the Caja Petrolera clinic, maintains that “evidently (eucalyptus) helps disinfect” but “unfortunately eucalyptus as a disinfection element for coronavirus does not have a specific study“
However, “you have to respect the culture of the country” and “what can help, can help, but we cannot make the mistake of making disinfection chambers only with herbal elements“He maintains. The ancestral part “has to go hand in hand” with the scientific part, he adds.
“The disinfection tents are a part of help, but it is not the fundamental element”, but social distancing, hand washing, the use of alcohol gel, the use of chinstrap and other measures recommended by international health organizations, Miranda points out.
However, this is not the only contribution of the population to defend against CODIV-19, which so far has infected some 400 Bolivians and caused 28 deaths.
For example, the environmentalist Álex Vilca is building disinfecting booths en masse in the Oruro region of Surand, where the coronavirus has regrowth after 22 days without infection.
Once a person enters the cabin, a system that pumps sodium hypochlorite automatically fumigates it for five seconds, “eliminating 100% of the viruses impregnated in your clothes and body“In a few minutes, Vilca tells journalists.
In the midst of a precarious health resource, Many Bolivians handcrafted masks or masks of transparent acetate facial protection.
To combat the pandemic, the authorities have extended the national confinement until April 30, while some cities, such as Santa Cruz, where half of the infected are concentrated, are militarized.
In South Florida, authorities are considering reopening beaches and public parks, toward a “new normal” scenario. With more than 23,300 infected with COVID-19, in that state, hospital occupancy is 42%.
JOSE: The return to open public spaces is a scenario contemplated in South Florida. The authorities consider a “new reality” to be the reopening of parks and beaches in Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade County Mayor
“We are considering how parks and other locations in our county can be opened when the time is right, we want to do it gradually and always with contagion prevention in mind, we don’t want to cause a second wave of contagion now that the number of patients is going down ”
In Miami-Dade, over 8,200 people and 772 patients are registered in hospitals for COVID-19. During the last 11 days these figures have produced a decrease and stabilization in the local registration curve. This county continues to top the list of highest impact in Florida. The parks and beaches of the jurisdiction have been closed for almost a month.
Mayor Miami-Dade County “All experts agree that it is good for physical and mental health that people go outside to exercise and get fresh air”
Possible regulations to apply include jogging and walking, sports between only two people and sustaining physical distance. In addition, they warn about a zero tolerance protocol for violators.
In cities such as Miami Beach, they suggest the generation of tourist packages, in the future of the ‘new normal” to encourage the visit of people from other places and gradually reactivate the industry in that sector. On the other hand, Florida Governor Ron Desantis says there are conditions to gradually return to work.
The state government issued 33,600 unemployment aid checks. The forms for your request continue to be distributed in public libraries.
JOSE PERNALETE, VOICE OF AMERICA, MIAMI
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INTRO TEXT In South Florida, authorities are considering reopening beaches and public parks, toward a “new normal” scenario. With more than 23,300 infected with COVID-19, in that state, hospital occupancy is 42%.
Around the world, the population of older adults has been the most affected by the coronavirus. The pandemic has forced millions of them to isolate themselves from their family, work and activities.
According to United Nations data, there are more than 962 million people over the age of 65. Given the vulnerability of this population group, the Voice of america He interviewed Dr. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrician at Johns Hopkins University, to find out her recommendations.
Question: What specific recommendations do you have for the elderly to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Answer: Exercise and nutrition, but at the same time try to separate the older person from the children. I know it is very difficult to do that, but it can be done at home. If the older adult lives with you at home, at least that person should wear a mask, because the problem has been contact with children and also with one, who may not know they have the disease yet. You don’t have to be afraid, but you do have to be very careful. Ideally help that person use a separate bathroom. If you can use separate dishes and towel. This is recommended for people who already have the disease, but to prevent it is good to also have some of that in mind.
Q: If the older adult has to go to the doctor for his annual check-up, do you recommend that he go to the appointment or postpone it ?.
A: I think it depends on where that person is located. In general, the annual check-up should be postponed. I think it is better that if the risk is very high, that they should stay home. Now we are seeing patients by video, as we are doing this conversation now, and they are also doing it by phone. If you don’t have acute symptoms, call your doctor and have a phone conversation and decide between yourselves what would be best.
Q: Should families remove their older adults from geriatric centers?
A: I think that right now, the act of taking this person out and going somewhere else and being with the children, even if it is in the family, the risk remains high. At least in those centers, they are cared for, someone is checking them. In general, I think it’s better for people to stay wherever they are and not try to expose them to transportation.
Q: What care should be taken when an older adult is at home and has symptoms of coronavirus ?.
A: First review the coronavirus symptoms, which are fever, muscle aches, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell. Any of those symptoms that one has, no problem, except one. If you develop shortness of breath you have to call and find a professional. They don’t have to go to the hospital, nor do they necessarily have to go to the doctor. If you have any of the other symptoms they can call your doctor and explain it to you. But if you have difficulty breathing, for example, from walking from where you are sitting, to the bathroom. So you should go to a hospital, but when you call the ambulance, explain that you think you have COVID-19.
Q: What to do if that elderly person has coronavirus and is in a house with other family members?
A: Well, in that case then you do have to isolate that person. It should be put in a separate room, a separate bathroom, and try not to enter that room. Just bring him food, not to clean the room, or spend a lot of time in that room so that others don’t get it, because there is a lot of contagion among the same people who live in the house. Wash your clothes and have it separated from others. Usually the person with the coronavirus lasts between 5 to 14 days with the disease, so we are not talking about how you are going to do this for a long time, but until they start to improve and enough time has passed for them to recover.
Q: Do you recommend that older adults take supplements to boost their immune system?
A: We don’t know if that is effective, but I do recommend that people focus on their nutrition, because nutrition we do know that helps the immune system with a high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that we know cause inflammation such as eggs, butter, other dairy products, and yogurt.
Q: There is a lot of information on over-the-counter medicines that can help prevent coronavirus. What do you advise ?.
A: It is important to avoid medications that cause damage or strong side effects in older adults, antihistamines that should be avoided because they cause delirium, lethargy, and urinary problems. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen should also be avoided, this is avoided in older adults because it causes kidney failure. In other countries, they are considering using anti-HIV and anti-malaria drugs. There have been no studies done right now to confirm that works, so I don’t recommend that you start taking those medications that can be dangerous in older adults. The best thing they can do is stay healthy.
“The soldiers confiscate the cars of those who do not respect the curfew”
“The soldiers responsible for enforcing the containment due to Covid-19 arrested 10,000 people last week. They also confiscated the vehicles of 2,500 drivers who violated the curfew ” explains Herman Kumara. Founder of Nafso, an organization that supports Sri Lankan fishermen, must let his wife do the shopping “Because the chronically ill, like me who have a heart, must not go out. “ Her children have not been to school for a month. Some villages are completely closed, as cases have been observed there. Few deaths have yet been recorded on the island, but everyone seems to be aware of the danger.
“People have understood the value of social distancing. The problem is that you have to survive and eat “, adds Herman Kumara. The textile factories in the free zones are closed and the workers invited to return home, with a lump sum compensation equivalent to € 20.
In the countryside, farmers can continue to cultivate. “This is essential because we depend on imported vegetables, rice and fish from Pakistan, India and Thailand for our food. And these countries no longer export with the crisis. Prices are going up with the looming shortage. And, poor people cannot store for lack of cash. ” He finds that once again, Sri Lanka, a stage on the silk route, has turned to China, with which he has taken out a new loan equivalent to 460 million euros.
Herman Kumara notes the limited resources available to caregivers. “Health workers threaten to strike in the face of risk. At Nafso, we set out to make cloth clothes for the doctors and nurses of the hospital where a member of my family works. A tailor helped us for the patterns. “
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“I receive 200 orders emails from all over the world every day”
What strikes this young viet kieu (French of Vietnamese origin returned to Vietnam), it is the speed of reaction of the country vis-a-vis the danger of the coronavirus. “By the end of January, when we only had six cases reported, the government became aware of the risk posed by the epidemic in our Chinese neighbor. “ Schools have not reopened after the Têt celebrations, masks and temperature taking are compulsory, no right to meet with more than two people, closed restaurants, controls at the exit of cities, more public transport .
People are invited to work at home. No general confinement, but rules and constant surveillance. “People have incorporated these instructions. Also out of fear of the hospital system, whose weaknesses they know. “ As a result, Vietnam recorded, according to figures published ten days ago, less than 300 cases and no deaths. Each case must self-declare on the Internet. His address is mentioned publicly. Each contact of this patient and each contact of this contact must go to centers where they are accommodated for 14 days. “It may sound intrusive, but everyone understood that it was in the interest of the community. “
At the entrance to his factory which manufactures sterile operating drapes, Minh Phong imposes health regulations on its 200 employees. He started to produce masks, for the Vietnamese market, because exports are prohibited. “Customs made us open a whole cargo of operating drapes destined for Thailand to check that we were not exporting masks”, explains Minh Phong. “Currently, I receive 200 order emails from around the world every day. We could export blouses, but the raw material, non-woven, we import from India and China. And our suppliers have not delivered it to us for ten days. “
“It is the last digit of the identity card that defines the day on which we can go out”
Riberalta is an islet of 100,000 inhabitants, in the north of Bolivia, planted in the middle of the vastness of the Amazon rainforest. Here, the richness comes from the fruits that fall from the vertiginous walnut trees of Brazil. “The director of the hospital told us that if there were more than twenty patients, he did not have the equipment to treat them on the spot”, says Vania Gonzales, an employee of the Cipca association, which promotes family farming.
Bolivia has registered only six deaths so far. However, the government imposed confinement on March 23. “You can go out according to the last digit of your identity card. Mine is 1, which means that I can go out for an hour every Monday “, she specifies.
The municipality of Riberalta has set up a distribution of two kilos of rice, two kg of sugar and two liters of oil. The breeders’ federation donated 450 kg of meat, “Which does not do much by family. “
Employees of factories or shops have been dismissed with compensation equivalent to € 35. So residents of lower-income neighborhoods held a demonstration to ask for help. “The police and the army imprisoned four protesters because they did not respect social distancing. “
The municipality closed down grocery stores which, in the name of the shortage, had increased their prices. “ There are no more eggs, chicken, vegetables: it all came by truck or plane. So we eat bananas, yucca and almonds. “
In the Amazon rainforest, communities are not allowed to move. In any case, he no longer sells gasoline. “On the other hand, you can still buy 10-liter bottles of gas for cooking. “
“I go out every week to record readings of children’s books on television”
As a child, he remembers that his parents put on him black clothes at night so that “We are not seen at night in the bush, where we were hiding. ” It was 26 years ago, during the genocide in Rwanda. Éric Dusabimana learned to grow up with danger. He obeyed instructions such as the containment measures taken since March 20 by the Kigali government to fight against the coronavirus. Rwanda has less than 100 confirmed cases. “These cases are isolated and placed in centers. They can listen to music. We gave them broadband Internet, ” he says.
The borders are closed, except for trucks and cargo planes. For his wife and six-month-old granddaughter, Éric Dusabimana stocked rice, cassava and corn flour and hygiene products at the supermarket, which opens at certain times, for a month. Kigali hospitals only receive critical cases, other patients must go to the clinic closest to their home.
Masks are not available and the “Chinese Jack Ma Foundation – named after owner of Alibaba online store – donated kits for virus testing”. “The government has set up a fund to help vulnerable people, based on the distribution of food. In each village, the authorities are trying to establish the list of the most fragile inhabitants. “
Éric Dusabimana is a publisher of children’s books. He works from his home with a weekly Skype meeting. Every Monday, “ I’m going out to record readings of six children’s books on Rwandan national television “ from his Bakamé publishing house. They will be broadcast daily in educational programs.
“People are in anxiety. Especially those who live on a day-to-day income ”
About twenty days ago, SolangeRajaonah was able to observe from Antsirabe where she lives, the noria of bush taxis that came from Antananarivo, filled with people fleeing the capital to return to their land. “We had just learned of the existence of three confirmed cases, who returned from Europe. Everyone wanted to leave town for fear of contamination ”, explains this agricultural expert.
In Madagascar, the streets of Antananarivo are deserted / Rijasolo / AFP
Three days later, the Madagascan president decided to isolate Antananarivo by prohibiting entry into and exit from the city, which is subject to strict confinement. These measures were also taken in the province of Tamatave where two tourists fled to escape their quarantine. “The state caught up with them after launching radio research calls. “
Public transport is prohibited. Passenger cars can only travel with a maximum of two people, with the passenger in the back. Since March 19, air routes have been cut, except for flights chartered by Western embassies to repatriate their nationals.
Solange is in constant contact with her mother who lives alone in Antananarivo. “She is afraid and has her vegetables delivered to her door. “ In Antsirabe, 27 people were found positive. “We live in anxiety. Especially people who live on a day-to-day income, like washerwomen. The State allocates them basic necessities. “
The challenge now is to continue to supply cities with agricultural products. “The carriers did not fully understand the government instructions. They were afraid of being arrested if they were driving empty to pick up market garden produce, apples and oranges. Farmers, who can work in the countryside, feared that they would no longer sell their produce. The situation has been clarified. Now we are waiting at the end of the month for the start of the rice campaign. “
“We transfer cash by crediting the phones of those who live on the street”
Francis Atul Sarker
Responsible for Caritas in Bangladesh, Francis Atul Sarker organizes aid from Dacca to the most vulnerable. Official statistics say six people have died and fewer than 100 people have tested positive, out of a population of 160 million. However, the government decided on March 26 to close the country. Those who can work from home do it. All shops are closed except pharmacies and food shops. In the countryside, the season is not favorable for field work and we are waiting for the monsoon to plant rice. Imams and bishops call their faithful to follow their religious services on the Internet.
“How long will people endure this situation? “ wonders Francis Atul Sarker, taking as an example the street children and the beggars who remain alone in Dacca, emptied of its crowds and its traffic. “We have experience with natural disasters, where we use cash transfer technology by crediting cell phones. We do the same and if people don’t have a phone, we give them tickets. “ In Bangladesh, a third of the population lives below the poverty line.
Francis Atul Sarker also sends masks to the various dioceses by express couriers which continue to operate. “We don’t have the masks recommended by the World Health Organization because they are too expensive. But, we do get surgical masks. It’s already that. “
Schools are closed and the government has developed teaching modules on the Internet. A television channel is converted into a classroom. For those who have neither Internet nor television, a radio broadcasts the same modules. The government has also opened an online children’s library.
With the toll of deaths from the coronavirus exceeding 20,000 this week, accelerated efforts to develop treatments for COVID-19 are primarily focused on adapting existing drugs to combat the disease. These are some of the best known.