Nineteen of the last 20 years are now the warmest on record.
Such a stark change in the planet’s surface temperature is easily visualized in the “warming stripes” created by Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading. The stripes depict “global average temperature in each year from 1850 to 2018, clearly illustrating the warming planet as the colours change from cool blue to warm red.”
The warming stripes — seen in live concerts, on a Tesla, and on ties and scarves — are now available as cotton face masks, in a reality where a historic pandemic is occurring amid human-caused climate change.
(In the U.S., you can buy one via Zazzle here)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing face coverings in public places where it’s difficult or impossible to stay at least six feet away from people.
Importantly, wearing a coronavirus face mask isn’t about you.
“Putting a mask on yourself is more to prevent you from infecting someone else,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the long-serving director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told PBS NewsHour last month. The coverings reduce the amount of virus an infected person exhales.
What’s more, around one in four infected people may not experience COVID-19 symptoms, meaning they don’t know they’re infected. So a mask can help infected people who “do not know it from transmitting [disease] to others,” said the CDC.
The coronavirus pandemic will not end any time soon, as there’s no vaccine nor proven medical treatments. Infectious disease experts expect the coronavirus to come in waves, perhaps like the 1918 influenza.
Meanwhile, the planet is already on track for finishing as one of the top few warmest years on record — and has a good shot of being the hottest year ever recorded.