Can corona virus save lives? It’s a weird idea. But some scientists say so.
This horrible bug has made people sick and is messing up all our lives. No one suggests it’s a good thing.
But our human society is, well, complicated… So just like things we like can end up hurting us (think of what sugar does to your teeth!), bad things can have good “side-effects”.
Take a look at these pictures of China from space. The coloured patches show air pollution – tiny particles of poisonous dust from engines and factories.
You can see that in China, the country where the corona virus, or COVID-19, started, the colour – dirty air – almost disappeared.
Why, do you think?
Well, it’s not because nasty old COVID is going around cleaning up for us.
To stop people spreading the virus, China made people stay at home. No cars, no factories… Bingo! Less pollution. The air is also getting cleaner in Italy and other countries where the virus has spread and where people are now staying at home to block the bug.
One scientist at Stanford University in California calculated that the cleaner air will save 77,000 lives, just in China – many times more than have died from COVID.
Now, these are calculations are tricky. Scientists reckon dirty air makes millions of people round the world die sooner than they would.
But hardly anyone dies of “pollution”. It’s more that bad air weakens their bodies and they die of something else. And it’s very hard to say how much longer anyone might live with clean air.
Marshall Burke, the scientist who came up with the figure of 77,000 lives saved, is not saying COVID is a good thing. But he does want us to think about how making less pollution would be good for all of us.
At WoW!, we’ll bring you more stories about ways people are finding to clean the air. What do you think are good ways to make less pollution?