March 31, 2020
By Kevin Hall
If you recently found yourself searching in vain for N95 masks, you’ve been ignoring health science. Not by looking for a mask, but by not having one already.
Valley residents know air pollution is a decades-old crisis in our valley that regularly reaches dangerous peaks.
Whether it’s our cold, winter air choked with fireplace soot, diesel exhaust, and dairy ammonia or a summertime blanket of wildfire smoke filling our lungs, the warnings to wear these masks are by now familiar. Hardware stores normally have them in stock, as should every home, alongside smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
But many ignore the warnings or discount science-driven responses as too costly and downplay the risks to themselves and others.
Sound familiar? It should. President Trump delayed for eight weeks before reacting to the pandemic. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is approaching 30 years of having failed to clean our air. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in mid-March to not issue a shelter-in-place directive, as did the City of Clovis.
Raging along this continuum of denial and delay — in order of life-threatening immediacy — are the novel coronavirus pandemic, air and water pollution, and climate change. Stacked like crushing weights on the chest of an asthma victim, air pollution alone ensures early deaths for thousands of valley residents in a “normal” year. Continue reading Bright line of denial connects health crises