NASA satellite data from the Aura OMI instrument is showing that the claims from China that they are returning to normal could be true. At least from what can be seen in increased pollution over the cities which reflects people getting back to work and industry starting this appears to be true. As a follow on to our previous post which showed that the pollution levels were returning, but not yet normal on March 20th you can see the image below from March 2019 shows what the baseline levels of pollution looked like before the outbreak.
In the image below you can see that the pollution levels look almost normal now. This image was taken on March 29, 2020.
Clearly there is a significant amount of NO2 (pollution) again over China The white area is cloud cover so it obscures some of the data but clearly even with this there is a significant amount of industrial level activity again in China. In February 2020 there was very little NO2 in the satellite data, presumably due to factories shutting down and people locked down in their homes.
What does this mean? Well NO2 is produced from factories, trucks, heavy equipment etc. All of which require people to run. Therefore people in China must be getting back to work, and in theory not be sick any more. Of course they could also be opening the factories and just letting people get sick too. If we believe this shows they are getting better it could help us understand how long the virus will effect the rest of the world since China was the first location of the pandemic.