At least eight states in Mexico will be affected by dust from the Sahara desert, especially, the entities of the southeast, the peninsula and the Gulf. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that afflicts much of the world, including Mexico, there is concern about whether it can cause health problems.
On the subject, Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of Health, said that these particles can affect people with respiratory diseases.
“They can increase mortality, in general, in people who suffer from chronic respiratory diseases and chronic heart diseases, people with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and those that are characteristically chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma can precipitate exacerbations or complications of these diseases and can increase mortality, this increase in mortality has been described in multiple epidemiological studies in relation to environmental contamination, “said the official.
Although the National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred) has communicated that these particles do not represent a significant danger for the population, experts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), as well as López-Gatell Ramírez They recommend using face masks and reinforcing the domiciliary protection for people with respiratory problems who live in entities that are mostly affected.
According to the National Coordination of Civil Protection, the entities affected by the accumulation of particles from the Sahara are: Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Tamaulipas.
Luis Antonio Ladino Moreno, from the UNAM Center for Atmospheric Sciences, said that for 50 years there has been no dust cloud like the one that has arrived in Mexican territory.
“We are experiencing an 800 percent increase and the pen is just coming in. It is quite significant, ”said the Doctor of Science from the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich.
Consequently, Ladino Moreno recommended reinforcing the biosecurity measures that were put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially in the peninsula, where Saharan dusts arrived in the afternoon of this Tuesday, June 23.
“Air quality can be affected in the Yucatan Peninsula; the call is to take certain care such as wearing face masks and protecting your eyes ”, he expressed in a virtual conference.
Regarding this provision, López-Gatell commented that the masks could be ineffective, so he suggested that the population stay at home, now, all the more reason, so as not to expose themselves to dust contamination from the Sahara. Although the undersecretary also commented that the N95-type mouthguards would be more useful for the protection of citizens.
The National Water ComissionFor his part, he reported that “on the night of Friday, June 26, the phenomenon will move to the southern part of the United States of America and will no longer directly affect Mexican territory.”
According to Ladino Moreno, the deserts of Africa, (where the Sahara is located) emit about 800 million metric tons of fine dust particles into the atmosphere and, in summer, between July and August, this cluster heads towards the Caribbean Sea, therefore it impacts the peninsula of Mexico.
The dry air mass that forms over the Sahara it has a horizontal extension of 4,000 to 5,000 kilometers, larger than the continental surface of the United States, according to Conagua.
For this 2020 that cloud is very large and It will be about four days affecting the Mexican zone; later, the Shara dust through the Gulf and could reach Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, in American territory.
Incidentally, the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere of Colorado State University has set up a virtual platform to monitor the meteorological phenomenon and can be consulted in this link.
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