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2020 Stays True To Its Brand: A Large Dust Cloud Blows Into The U.S.

View of a cloud of Saharan dust over a beach in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico.
View of a cloud of Saharan dust over a beach in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico.

A cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert had blown across the Atlantic Ocean and made landfall in the southeastern United States late last week. Sections of the country experienced haze.

While the phenomenon seems concerning at first, it actually occurs every year. But this year’s cloud is unusually large and speculation held it might hurt air quality.

The cloud initially blew into U.S. airspace over Texas but is expected to begin making its way north. Medical officials have recommended avoiding outdoor activities in areas affected by the cloud and the wearing of masks to avoid particle inhalation.

How will the cloud affect public health, especially in the middle of a respiratory pandemic? And why is the 2020 cloud much bigger than normal?

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