The Smoked Apple: Pics of New York Look Like Sydney 2019/2020 Right Now

Smoke in new york city.

“I can’t breathe in this air.”

Jodie Comer, star of Killing Eve, had to stop just three minutes into her one-woman show, Prima Facie, last night. The actress suffered breathing difficulties and had to be helped off the stage.

This is how bad the air quality in New York is right as the city struggles through its second day of smoke-filled air. The haze has been swept down from the north, where more than 400 wildfires in Canada are blazing virtually out of control.

An Image showing downtown new york in which the city is engulfed in smoke.
Image: Getty

On Wednesday, New York had the worst air quality of anywhere in the world, reaching 342 on the Air Quality Index, a level considered “hazardous” for all residents.

“We recommend all New Yorkers limit outdoor activity to the greatest extent possible,” New York Mayor Eric Adams has said.

“Those with pre-existing respiratory problems, like heart or breathing problems, as well as children and older adults, may be especially sensitive and should stay indoors at this time.”

Of course, theatregoers being unable to enjoy a play is the least of New Yorks’ concerns right now. Schools have been cancelled, official warnings to stay inside declared, and zoos have had to bring their animals indoors as more than 3.8 million hectares of Canadian forest goes up in smoke.

Scientists are still trying to work out the full impact of the Black Summer Fires on the health of Sydneysiders and others who were subjected to months of dense bushfire smoke.

Image showing smoke in new york city where the air quality is hazardous.
Image: Getty

Previous studies have shown a 5% rise in mortality in Australian regions where bushfire smoke engulfed a population. Bushfire smoke is a lot like cigarette smoke in that it is particularly dangerous for people who have respiratory issues, asthma, or allergies.

Much of the smoke is coming from Quebec, where 150 are currently burning. 150,000 Canadian residents are expected to be evacuated in what officials have said is the worst fire season on record in the province.

Climate change is clearly playing a role in exacerbating the fires in Canada this season — already thought to be 12 times larger than the average. With the world having already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius, drier conditions and more extreme weather events like this one are increasingly becoming the norm.

Related: Labor Set to Pass New Emissions Laws, But Activists Say It Will Make Climate Change Worse

Related: In Non-Depressing Climate News, Brazil’s New Leader Could Save the Amazon Rainforest

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