Forest Fires, COVID-19 an ‘Explosive Combo’

The approaching Amazon forest fire season carries an extra menacing threat for Indigenous people in Brazil already suffering from COVID-19 lung damage,Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
 
Worsening air quality and a respiratory disease pandemic are “an explosive combination,” said Mario Vianna, president of the Amazonas state doctor's union, adding that he’s seen no guidance to help Indigenous communities prepare.

A Global Climate and Health Alliance report published yesterday linked forest fire smoke exposure to more emergency room visits and detailed greater vulnerability to COVID-19’s most serious effects for fire-affected communities in Canada, Australia, and Brazil. 
 
People in Brazil's Amazon already suffer a nearly 250% higher Covid death rate than the general population, according to a June IPAM study shared by Reuters.

And in the US: Western states are bracing for earlier-than-usual wildfires because of early heat waves and severe drought, The New York Times reports.
 
More than 20 large wildfires are already burning in Arizona, California, and other states, Axios reports, with “critical” fire weather conditions in several states this week. 
 
Heat warnings and advisories are in effect for tens of millions, with a “blowtorch-like heat” wave expected to cause record-busting temperatures this week.
 

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