Jun 19, 2019

Air quality worsens during Trump presidency

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Air quality in the U.S. has declined over the past 2 years since President Trump took office, reports AP.

The big picture: The EPA is expected to issue emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants on Wednesday that are more modest than an Obama-era rule that never took effect — the latest Trump administration move to loosen environmental rules. Trump previously said the U.S. has "the cleanest air in the world," and touted that it has improved throughout his presidency. Wildfires contribute to poor air quality, and the West Coast has seen 2 major seasons in 2017 and 2018, AP found.

By the numbers: There have been 15% more days with unhealthy air in the U.S. during the past 2 years than there were on average from 2013 to 2016.

  • 532 metro areas reported a combined 4,134 days of poor air quality last year.
  • There were 140 instances accounted for in 2017 and 2018 when cities reached the 2 lowest categories of "very unhealthy" and "hazardous," per AP.
  • Nearly 100,000 people die annually because of bad air quality.

But, but, but: Per AP: "Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration."

  • However, the story notes that scientists believe that Trump's moves to weaken environmental regulations and ease enforcement could transform "what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend."

Meanwhile, despite the most recent decline in air quality, there are fewer poor days presently than there were in the early 2000s, 1990s and 1980s.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.