Bad Air, Racism, Poverty & Deaths from COVID-19
Air quality and COVID-19 deaths match up with an unsettling American pattern. Are racism and poverty spiking death rates? Might it get worse?
By David Stone
Air Quality & COVID-19 Death Rates
The paper found that if Manhattan had lowered its average particulate matter level by just a single unit, or one microgram per cubic meter, over the past 20 years, the borough would most likely have seen 248 fewer Covid-19 deaths by this point in the outbreak.New York Times
New Research Links Coronavirus Death Rates to Air Pollution
Note that this cites Manhattan, a part of the city hit not nearly as hard as are the outer boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx, where hundreds more unnecessary deaths are reported.
PM2.5 is the obscurely named poison cited in a Harvard study rushed into publication because of its relevance. PM2.5 is nefarious, too tiny to see, many times smaller than a grain of fine sand.
But it’s powerful enough to account for 88,000 premature deaths in the United States in 2015, the most recent data available. That’s more than diabetes or the seasonal flu.
And we have some of the world’s cleanest air. In the same period, PM2.5 was responsible for 4.2 million deaths worldwide.
Tiny though it is, this killer pollutant is not entirely invisible. Those hazy days of summer… that haze fogs skies when PM2.5 reaches hazardous levels, and it happens in every city.
Its source: Burning things.
For example: Coal-fired power plants, gas-fueled cars, chemicals exhausted in industrial processes and wildfires.
How Racism and Poverty Play Roles
In a headline so blatantly racist, you might miss it, the New York Times explains that “Black Americans… face alarming rates of coronavirus infection…“
The trouble here is that there is no such rational thing as a “Black American,” except among those repeating false racial categories. No credible scientist believes race is a valid category for anything.
What the Times does is stigmatize poverty through the back door while feigning empathy. Just for good measure, they also trot out the shibboleth “people of color.”
But the truth is that the single thing skin color indicates is how close your distant relatives lived to the equator. The Times and other mainstream media know this — or should, but they don’t care.
So, why bring phony demographics into the picture?
Poor people, whether in India, China or San Francisco, are subject to worse air quality than others and, currently, more COVID-19 illnesses and deaths.
For the U.S., An Ugly Future
In its headlong, headless pursuit of dismantling everything related to Barrack Obama, just last week, the Trump administration announced weakening tailpipe emission regulations.
The administration’s own analysis said the change would cause additional pollution-related deaths. And that did not take into account the relationship between air quality and COVID-19 deaths.
That news is unlikely to change Trump’s assault on air quality. After all, the victims are mainly poor people who don’t stay in his luxury hotels.
And last year, the EPA went ahead with weakening controls over pollution from coal-fired power plants, even after acknowledging the act would cause 1,400 unnecessary deaths per year.
That’s 1,400 fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc., mostly poor, stigmatized in America by official racial profiling that’s supported by mainstream media.
Conclusion: Air Quality COVID-19 Deaths
The Harvard study relating poor air to COVID-19 deaths confirms a pattern.
Air pollution adversely affects poor Americans more than others because it’s largely an urban problem, and in the United States, city centers were abandoned by anyone who could afford to leave, starting in the Sixties. Federal policies subsidized the migration.
And today, unexpectedly, the poor living in downtown USA also fall victim to a greater burden in the coronavirus crisis.
Anyone encouraged by recent signs of a leveling off of infections may be missing the bigger picture.
Categories: Assorted Ideas