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Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Scientists in San Francisco and Oakland have developed two new ways to monitor pollution at high resolutions, according to Wired.

Why it matters: Scientists and epidemiologists have relied on weather models to track air pollution and conduct studies, but maps made with this unprecedented detail will open a door to the kinds of questions and studies scientists can conduct.

  1. Monitors inside Google Street View cars. Aclima, the SF-based company, installed tubing to monitor air quality in the Bay Area. As the cars drive around, the tubes take in the air, which is tested once per second for carbon pollution and nitrogen gases. Their year-long study produced an interactive map of three types of air pollution.
  2. Sensors on rooftops. Ron Cohen, an atmospheric chemist at UC Berkeley, installed them across the Bay Area that can measure seven types of pollutants. The sensors, called BEACO2N (Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Obseation Network), monitor set locations and reveal how pollution changes throughout the day and with the change of seasons.

What's next? The scientists behind both of the projects hope to create a full ecosystem of pollution sensors. Cohen is planning to track how asthma attacks correlate with pollution, and Aclima is working with epidemiologists to study emission levels near pollution hotspots. Both groups are looking to expand globally.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

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