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Pollution in New York City has dropped dramatically as New Yorkers stay in

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

As traffic dies down and workers telecommute, it's no surprise that pollution in New York City has lessened.

Emissions of carbon monoxide here in the city have declined more than 50 percent below typical levels over the past week as car traffic has waned, according to The New York Times.

"We’ve never seen anything like the drop we saw starting last Friday," Roisin Commane, an assistant professor at Columbia, told the Times. "We often see dips during weekends or over holidays, but this is completely different."

Last Wednesday, rush-hour traffic was 36 percent faster than usual, according to the Times.

So if the sky seems a little bit clearer and the air a bit fresher, it's not just because you've been stuck inside too long. It actually is.

The health benefits are there, but they're pretty minor, the Times says. And once the coronavirus outbreak fades and people return to the great outdoors and highways, air pollution will likely have a larger impact on public health.

"It’s not a sustainable way to reduce air pollution, and the long-term economic and well-being impacts of this crisis are going to be devastating for many people," said Jill Baumgartner, an associate professor and epidemiologist at McGill University.

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