Nevada County saw a break in the poor air quality primarily caused by the smoke from the Caldor Fire and the Dixie Fire and assisted by the local Bennett Fire. But prior to the relief, the Air Quality Index consistently had the air over western Nevada County in the unhealthy range. At the same time COVID cases were on the rise. Separately the smoke irritation and COVID present the same symptoms. During a recent discussion with county public health officials, Dr. Scott Kellerman shared information about the correlation between COVID and fine particulate matter in the air. He said a Harvard study published in a magazine Science Advances came out several weeks ago connecting the two issues.
He says the combination of the two is the perfect storm for increasing the negative effects of raspatory illness.
Kellerman does say that an N-95 is the preferred mask to prevent both particulate matter intrusion as well as the coronavirus.
Cloth masks alone and surgical masks are fine for COVID protection, but do not effectively filter the fine particulate that make the smoke from wildfires.