New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, who joined “Mornings On 1” Thursday to discuss the impact of the smoke on New Yorkers' health, is strongly advising all residents to remain indoors and use air purification devices if possible.
“This is an air quality event, the likes of which – as you describe — we haven't seen in decades,” Vasan said. “The particulate matter in the air can cause real damage to the lungs, and for people with underlying heart conditions as well, it can really exacerbate those. So, we are advising extremely clearly: stay indoors if you can.”
The city saw its worst levels of air pollution in half a century on Wednesday. Many otherwise healthy New Yorkers reported irritation to their throat and eyes. Meanwhile, individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions were put at risk for even more severe complications.
With the smoky conditions expected to continue through the weekend, all New Yorkers are being advised to take precautions if venturing outdoors, including the use of a high-quality mask, such as an N95 or KN95.
Vasan also cautioned that wildfires of this magnitude at such an early point in the summer could mean that New York may begin to see occurrences like this much more frequently.
“The fact that lightning strike caused a wildfire or wildfires of this magnitude in June means that the ground is drier and more at risk and this shouldn't be happening in June. Wildfire season is typically in August and into September at the end of a long hot summer. So, this is a real warning sign of what's to come. This is the new normal and we have to get prepared and take action,” he said.