Steve April 8, 2020
Streets of downtown Tacoma, WA, during the COVID-19 outbreak

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This story originally appeared in Capital & Main and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story.

By Judith Lewis Mernit, Capital & Main.

If you, like me, tote an albuterol inhaler throughout your city’s smoggy summers and inversioned winters, you might have noticed an ironic, upbeat side effect of the nation’s mass grounding: It’s noticeably easier to breathe. It’s also easier, in this time when many of us have nowhere to go, to get to places. Traffic maps of typically congested U.S. cities show ribbons of green from one sunrise to the next: Rush hours have evaporated; sig alerts — a regular feature for California commuters — are suddenly rare.

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