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Discussion: Air

in: AliC; AliC > 2020-09-14

Sep 14, 2020 3:47 PM # 
First of all, it sounds pretty awful. Seems like it really sucks out there.

I wonder if all these people locking themselves at home for a while will have any measurable effect on covid spread. Will be interesting to see.
Sep 14, 2020 4:22 PM # 
It's hard to breathe on someone when you cannot breathe.
Sep 14, 2020 8:50 PM # 
Pink Socks:
We spent last week in Entiat, WA, which is near-ish the Cold Springs, Pearl Hill, and Apple Acres fires. We thought about coming back to Seattle last Thursday or Friday, but the air ended up being about the same or worse in Seattle, so we stayed... until yesterday, when it was 447 in Entiat, so we came home to a more "pleasant" 200. Just loading up the car yesterday caused coughing. I can't imagine Portland being like that every day.

Today it's 505 in Entiat and 234 where we are in the Seattle 'burbs. Where's that rain?
Sep 14, 2020 10:54 PM # 
The rain really can't come soon enough!

Not sure on covid spread (many of those who had to evacuate took up living with new households that they otherwise wouldn't be sharing indoor space with), but it is detrimental for covid testing, unfortunately:

From OregonLive:
"State officials said testing numbers in recent days appear to have dipped, perhaps in part because fewer people are seeking testing.

But some test locations have shut down because of hazardous air quality. OHSU, for instance, closed its two drive-thru locations Friday. They’ll remain closed through at least Tuesday.

The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory also closed Monday, citing hazardous indoor air quality. The state lab is not accepting or analyzing coronavirus samples, with existing samples being held in a temperature-controlled environment.

It’s unclear when the state lab, which can process several hundred tests a day, will reopen as smoke is expected in the Portland area through much of this week. State officials said they’ll begin running labs at the facility as soon as air safety standards can be met."
Sep 14, 2020 11:11 PM # 
Yeah, I wasn't sure whether people would stick inside, alone (good), or whether people would resort to indoor social activities instead of outside ones (bad), or whether both occur and they cancel each other out, or something else entirely? But with less testing then maybe it will be hard to know!
Sep 14, 2020 11:37 PM # 
I think there's also some concern that smoke could damage people's lungs, making covid symptoms worse. There was some study about flu season being worse after bad smoke exposure. It's a complicated thing to think about!
Sep 15, 2020 1:07 AM # 
EPA says N95 masks are necessary to protect yoir lungs from wildfire smoke and ash.
Sep 15, 2020 9:42 AM # 
Not much evidence of smoke/covid impact relationships following the Australian fires, although the number of cases in the main smoke-affected areas was tiny compared to the US so an effect may not have been visible even if it existed.
Sep 15, 2020 1:29 PM # 
Trying to do everything we can to not let the smoke at our lungs! I had serious bouts of asthma both last fall (trigger: respiratory infection) and spring (trigger: allergies) and am pretty sure it'll be triggered again if I breathe enough smoke. And asthma sucks and then I have to be on steriod inhalers that will make my pregnancy higher-risk. So I'm not going outside at all on these days and when Tom does, he wears an N95.

I guess Portland/whole Willamette Valley (which is the vast majority of the population of OR) will soon be a test case of if folks who were really out in this smoke fare worse with covid...
Sep 15, 2020 1:34 PM # 
Any chance you can just move off for awhile and teach fully remotely? Got to keep those precious lungs clear! Entire East is good, our AQI is in the teens, although there is a high smoke haze blowing over on the jet stream way up.
Sep 15, 2020 6:52 PM # 
Places within driving distance don't seem enough better off to make it worth it, although the coast should clear up soon, but we're probably too far behind the game to make AirBnB reservations at this point! Hard to fly East for an extended time because my prenatal care is here... Staying indoors sucks, but totally willing to do it if it means lungs stay ok!!
Sep 15, 2020 7:06 PM # 
Usually I'm jealous of left coasters but I feel for you all now. We are getting hazy smoke sky all the way in Boston! Doesn't seem to affect the air down here but the sky has been weird since yesterday.
Sep 17, 2020 1:51 PM # 
Yesterday, 3000 miles from ground zero, I could look straight at the deep orange sun without averting my eyes, and the temperature dropped five degrees below what was predicted. It felt like a foretaste of nuclear winter.
Sep 17, 2020 4:15 PM # 
Yeah, it's amazing it has gotten so far! Glad it's up high for you all though, it's just full on nuclear winter when it's lower... we've had 'sunny' days for the past 5, but the sun hasn't been visible.
Sep 17, 2020 4:37 PM # 
Yeah last night we had "clear skies" but I couldn't see a single star. Nice haze up there still today.
Sep 17, 2020 6:17 PM # 
Been thinking of you lots! I'm sorry things are so miserable, especially while you're pregnant.
Sep 18, 2020 6:01 PM # 
Thanks Carol! I'm just super-thankful this didn't hit in the worst of my morning sickness days - if my sense of smell was 100x heightened, I'm not sure I could have taken the smoke...

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