The global response to the novel coronavirus pandemic is so intense that it’s visible from space.
As people around the world are staying at home and practicing “social distancing,” satellites have captured incredible views of what used to be some of the most crowded places on Earth, which have now become desolate in the face of the coronavirus.
From deserted airports and tourist destinations to empty highways and abandoned shopping malls, these images from Maxar’s WorldView satellites offer an eerie glimpse of the large-scale effects of the global pandemic, which has turned even the most densely populated cities into ghost towns.
While these images from space show how crowds and traffic have seemingly vanished from the face of the Earth, they also reveal several new structures popping up around the world: makeshift hospitals that are being built to deal with the influx of critically ill patients.
Maxar’s images show two “pop up” medical facilities that were built in Wuhan, China, where the novel coronavirus originated. The satellites also captured views of a coronavirus testing facility in Germany and a soccer stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil, that is being converted into a hospital.
“Maxar is scanning our recent satellite imagery for the construction of medical facilities in response to the coronavirus. These seem to be popping up slowly at hospitals, in/around sports facilities and other places,” Maxar officials said in a statement. “We expect to find more of these facilities being creating in the coming days/weeks.”