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Air quality is has improved in DC since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

In the same period in 2019, we had 10 Moderate air quality days in March and seven Moderate air quality days April 1 through April 18.

WASHINGTON — The number of bad air quality days have plunged in the metro D.C. since the start of March according to data from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

This means some of us are breathing a little easier when we step outside. Bad air quality days have dropped in the Washington, D.C. region; likely in response to shelter-at-home orders due to the current coronavirus pandemic. 

Through April 18, COG data shows there have been only one "yellow" or "moderate" air quality days in metro D.C. The one and only Moderate air quality day since March 1 were on March 19. 

In the same period in 2019, we had 10 Moderate air quality days in March and seven moderate air quality days April 1 through April 18. 

Credit: WUSA9

Car and truck pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone, are major contributors to poor air quality. Poor air quality raises the risk of respiratory ailments like asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer. 

Looking back over the last decade, March averages about 10 Moderate air quality days; while April averages about Moderate 14 air quality days. 

This makes March our cleanest air quality day since 2010. The month of April is on its way to reaching the same mark. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments provides daily air quality forecast for the D.C. region.

As of April 19, there are now 96 reported coronavirus deaths in the city and 2,793 positive coronavirus cases.

What precautions should you take?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a mask if you have to make an essential trip outside
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Reasons to leave your home under stay-at-home order:

  • Grocery store trips
  • Medical visits or trips to the pharmacy
  • Travel to your essential job
  • Exercises such as walks, hikes or bike rides

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

If you are sick or suspect you are infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking the followings steps:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Avoid public areas, including work or school
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Contact your doctor via telemedicine for more guidance

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