Things That Matter

With Humans Indoors Because Of The Pandemic, Animals Are Going Wild Around The Globe

As many of us struggle with the new reality of staying indoors to stay safe, the Earth seems to be enjoying this new found human-free existence. Most of us are connecting with friends and family online; those of us lucky enough to work from home aren’t stuck in traffic anymore; and often overcrowded tourist destinations are free from crowds.

These empty streets, parks, and beaches have resulted in decreased air pollution around the world and animals are returning to habitats they abandoned long ago. Despite the ongoing health crisis and uncertainty we all face, the idea that the Earth is getting a chance to heal itself a bit during all this craziness is a small sliver of hope.

Air pollution is down by record numbers across the globe.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the global environment. Satellite images from regions across the world show a dramatic decrease in pollution. For the first time in more than 30 years, towns and villages across India have a panoramic view of the Himalaya Mountains.

The last time that cities in the state of Punjab, like Jalandhar, saw the Himalayan Mountains was about 30 years ago.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the concentration of fine particulate matter in the air had dramatically dropped since Modi first imposed the countrywide lockdown in March. The Air Quality Index fell as low as 45 late in the month, when a normal value in late March is around 160. India’s central pollution control board reported that a total of 85 cities in India showed improvement just one week after the lockdown.

In China, lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions, which one Earth systems scientist estimated may have saved at least 77,000 lives over two months.

Even LA, a city notorious for air pollution, has benefited from the state’s stay-at-home order.

Credit: Reddit / KnowNothingWiseGuy

The mental image many people have of the Los Angeles skyline is one obscured by smog, with thick air pollution hanging over its downtown buildings. But with the city – and the entire state of California – under stay-at-home orders to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus, something dramatic has happened to the air in LA.

On Tuesday, LA saw some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company which also monitors pollution levels in cities around the globe. And beginning in early March of this year, EPA air quality data shows that the city of Angels experienced its longest stretch of “good” air quality since at least 1995.

Meanwhile, wild animals are starting to take advantage of the lack of humans overcrowding their habitats.

Mexico’s Oaxacan coastline is home to La Ventanilla Beach, a popular tourist spot. The ecotourism destination is home to a lagoon in which the crocodiles normally spend most of their time, avoiding visitors who come from nearby Mazunte, Zipolite, Puerto Escondido and other destinations to snap photos of them from tour boats.

But when the tourists are away, the crocs will play, and a photo of five large reptiles enjoying the otherwise empty beach made the rounds on social media.

Mexico’s federal government closed all beaches in early April to prevent people from gathering in groups and further spreading the coronavirus. Since then there have been a number of observations of wildlife reclaiming spaces they previously avoided due to human presence.

There have also been reports of jaguars and leatherback sea turtles re-entering spaces in Cancún from which human activity had kept them away for decades.

Videos have captured the animals in Quintana Roo, where the popular resorts of Cancun and Riviera Maya are located. One video, which has been watched 120,000 times on Facebook, shows a huge crocodile swimming along a canal between balconies. The people filming express their shock at the animal as he swims past without stopping for the people watching him.

Another video captured a jaguar roaming the streets of Tulum. According to local media, the big cat was spotted near the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa.

A leatherback sea turtle was even caught laying 112 eggs on the beach in front of a luxury hotel in Cancun. Alfredo Arellano, secretary of ecology and environment of the state of Quintana Roo, said the turtle sighting was “very unusual”.

He explained: “On an average, we only have one leatherback turtle nesting per year in the entire state and the nesting season doesn’t start until May.”

Meanwhile, in California, wild animals are being seen in record numbers across the state’s national parks.

According to SFGate, an employee from Yosemite National Park claims that since the park closed to the public in late March, the sightings of large animals including bears, bobcats, and coyotes have gone up fourfold. 

“It’s not like [bears] aren’t usually here,” Yosemite employee Dane Peterson tells SFGate, “it’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Washington Post reports that a tribe of goats overtook the streets of Wales. Video taken by resident Andrew Stuart shows the animals nonchalantly roaming the empty streets and helping themselves to a meal of hedges and flower gardens.

MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

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MLS Players Test Positive As Teams Travel To Florida To Start Tournament

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

The numbers are startling. The number of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. is skyrocketing and breaking records for the number of infections almost daily. One of the hardest-hit states in Florida and the MLS is determined to bring their season back using Florida as their meeting ground.

MLS athletes and staff members are testing positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Florida.

Major League Soccer is one of the first sports to attempt to restart its season. Fans were excited about the decision to restart the sport and MLS officials set their sights on the Walt Disney World Resort. Teams were flown down to Orlando to create a bubble to restart the sport as safely as possible.

Florida is experiencing one of the most severe spikes in cases in the country and the MLS is not immune to the spread.

Florida recently reported more than 10,000 cases July 1, a record for the state, and within 1,000 infections from the nation’s record set in New York. Orange County, which is home to Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort, is facing one of the most devastating outbreaks in the state.

There is a lot of chatter about whether or not is possible for this bubble idea to work.

“So far, most guys have been sticking to their rooms, playing video games, FIFA and 2K. We’ve had the opportunity share meals together, which was nice because I haven’t eaten in a group in a long time,” San Jose defender Tommy Thompson told Tampa Bay Times. “It felt great to be back on the field. When we all got on that bus together and started to train with contact, it felt really good.”

Fans are questioning if this idea is going to work.

Some players have told the press that they do feel safe in the bubble as the teams practice and prepare for the MLS is Back Tournament.

“Everyone is wearing masks, some guys are wearing gloves, and I feel safe 100 percent,” Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann told Tampa Bay Times. “They separated us on the buses and on the plane. We are staying one to a room in the hotel. So, I feel really safe. They have good procedures in place, so everything should go smoothly.”

The MLS is Back Tournament is set to begin July 8, considering everything goes according to plan. The rest of the teams are expected to arrive this week with the first game between Inter Miami and Orlando City.

READ: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Is Calling For A Repeal Of Its Kneeling Policy During The National Anthem

Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

Things That Matter

Man Posts Plea For People To Social Distance After Falling Ill Of COVID-19 And Died The Next Day

Tommy Macias / Facebook

The world is still in the midst of a deadly viral pandemic. COVID-19 is not going away on its own and there are things that people can do to slow the spread. One of the most effective tools is wearing a mask followed up by social distancing. One man thought he could ease up and contracted the virus. Here is his warning.

A man known as Tommy Macias died one day after warning people about the dangers of COVID-19.

Credit: Tommy Macias / Facebook

Macias died the next day after posting this message on Facebook warning his friends and family about the dangers of COVID-19. According to the man’s post, he attended a party and contracted the virus there. Health experts have warned against gathering with friends and family right now. Parties have become some of the most infectious sites leading to the current outbreaks across the country.

Macias’s Facebook post touches on a point that drives home the importance of wearing face masks. After being exposed, he then exposed his entire family because he ignored health regulations.

The man’s death from COVID-19 has created a fear among his friends.

“Don’t take advantage of the unknown, don’t expect things to be fine. Take this shit seriously,” @flawlessbikerzcordova wrote on Instagram. “I had been diligent about wearing my mask but from time to time loosen up around the crew and friends. Not anymore!”

The U.S. is seeing a spike in cases across several states and cases are increasing in 35 states. The U.S. has seen record infection numbers in recent days and that trend is mirrored in Calfornia where the sudden reopening of the economy led to a runaway outbreak in the state.

Macias is now one of the more than 127,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.

According to NBC News, the Riverside County Office of Vital Records confirmed that Macias did die from COVID-19. According to Macias’s brother-in-law, Macias was diligent about wearing his mask and following health regulations. However, when California Governor Gavin Newsom signaled rapid reopening within weeks in June, Macias felt safe letting down his guard.

“He was quarantining because he was overweight and had diabetes,” Lopez told NBC News in explaining how careful Macias has been.

Macias’s death is a warning to Americans.

As the quarantining drags on due to reopening reversals, fatigue is setting in with Americans about self-isolation. With a holiday weekend underway, Macias’s message is a warning call to Americans as social distancing is forgotten and people argue over masks.

Health experts continue to stress the importance of wearing face masks when out in public and to stay away from indoor gatherings with friends, like parties. It might be uncomfortable and you might not like it but it is what we need to do to get back this virus.

Please stay safe, smart, and follow health guidelines this 4th of July weekend.

READ: #TheWorldReopenedAnd Is Highlighting All The Ways We Are Failing In Our Response To COVID-19