This year’s Earth Day feels different. Few times in our history has a health crisis affected every country at the same time.  On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, when everyone around the world comes together to show their support for environmental protections but this year everyone on earth is battling a virus.

There are several interesting intersections between Earth Day and the Coronavirus virus. One is that with home quarantine there have been very few cars on the roads worldwide meaning fewer gases being emitted. Car engines release poisonous gases that pollute the air, especially the extremely harmful greenhouse gas called carbon monoxide.

There is visible evidence that the earth has been less polluted over the last two months.

Research indicates that individuals residing in the most vulnerable communities experience higher levels of air pollution exposure are also among high-risk groups for the Coronavirus.

Air pollution, especially long-term exposure, causes severe illnesses such as, respiratory infection, which plays a major role in people diagnosed with COVID-19. And individuals with these underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe cases of COVID 19.

Creating a healthy planet with healthy people starts with fresh, clean, air. Local governments play a role in managing both the impact of the virus and promoting a healthy environment.

Many state governments are creating clean air plans that will look to the future and prepare an air quality standard that will sustain us through major catastrophes addressing the preventative measures for the worst-case scenarios.

While we have to celebrate Earth Day inside our homes this year, we are doing good for both our health and the earth’s health.