As the California wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic rage on in tandem, they may pose a serious double threat.
"Now we're battling two public health crises," Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S., a pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association, told ABC News. And it gets worse: The two forces of nature may interact with each other. "When we have public health concerns from wildfires to hurricanes, we worry about worsening spread of the virus," said Galiatsatos. Wildfire smoke causes air pollution by creating particulate matter, microscopically small particles that may bypass filters in the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs.