Friday, March 06, 2020

The World in Quarantine

Tiananmen Square before & after the coronavirus outbreak

As the daily rate of reported new cases of Covid-19 continues to drop in China the World Health Organization has praised the country's containment efforts. WHO reports that,

"China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. ... Fundamental to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to immediately detect cases, very rapid diagnosis and immediate case isolation, rigorous tracking and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of population understanding and acceptance of these measures." - Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (PDF)

Evidence of China's containment measures can be seen in maps of Chinese air traffic, in the fall of air pollution and in before & after aerial imagery of Chinese cities. In 13,000 Missing Flights the NYT visualized the scale of the reduction in air traffic by mapping air flights before and after the outbreak. The dramatic drop in air pollution caused by the huge drop in car traffic and shuttered factories has been visualized by NASA.Their Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China shows how levels of NO2 have plummeted since the introduction of quarantines in China.

In Before and after: coronavirus empties world's busiest spaces The Guardian has published a number of before and after aerial images of locations around the world. These images allow you to compare the numbers of people visiting public spaces before the coronavirus outbreak with the numbers of people visiting afterwards. These before & after images include one comparing the busy roads around Tiananmen Square before Covid-19 to the empty streets seen after the epidemic. A similar scene is shown in Wuhan, the epicenter of the global outbreak, with normally busy streets now largely empty of road traffic.

Of course China isn't the only country where coronavirus has affected the numbers of people congregating and traveling. The Guardian article includes before & after images showing the impact of Covid-19 on the number of people visiting Mecca, where authorities have suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage because of the Covid-19 epidemic.

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