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The natural world is flourishing while the world is dealing with crises.

The natural world is flourishing while the world is dealing with crises.
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As the novel coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, at least one-third of the world’s population is under some sort of stay-at-home order. The limited outside activity has resulted in detrimental losses in the global economy, but without human touch, the natural world has been thriving. While these improvements will unfortunately not last as people revert back to their normal habits, the environmental improvements have been eye-opening to how much responsibility humans have in damaging our planet. These eight photos show just how quickly nature is healing free from man’s intrusion.

Less trafficked canals in Venice

Less trafficked canals in Venice
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Italy’s country-wide lockdown has drastically decreased boat traffic in Venice’s historical waterways that are usually congested with gondolas, water taxis, and cruise ships. Residents are beginning to see fish, seaweed, and swans in the newly cleared canals.

Read on for everyday habits that could (and should) change forever after coronavirus.

White sand and blue waters in Miami

White sand and blue waters in Miami
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Now that the heavily visited beaches in Miami, Florida, are closed to beachgoers, the sand is cleaner, and the water is clearer. “It was special, definitely something that felt unbelievable,” Mark Ruiz, who was filming a marketing video on the beach, told WLPG. “I felt like I was in a movie. The ocean was crystal clear, neon blue; you could see right through the bottom of the ocean. I’ve never seen the water that blue in the years that we’ve been filming in South Florida.”

A vacant 7th Avenue in Manhattan

A vacant 7th Avenue in Manhattan
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Due to a stay-at-home order, it’s no surprise the normally overcrowded streets of Manhattan have cleared out, decreasing pollution in the bustling city. Carbon Monoxide emissions have decreased by nearly 50 per cent because of less car traffic.

Check out these oddly peaceful pictures of empty cities during quarantine.

Empty streets in Istanbul

Empty streets in Istanbul
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An aerial view of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge that connects Europe and Asia, which is usually packed with cars travelling in and out of the city, but is empty because of restrictions in 31 provinces to slow the spread of coronavirus.

A defined Los Angeles skyline

A defined Los Angeles skyline
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A characteristically smoggy skyline obscured by air pollution has cleared up over downtown Los Angeles with a stay-at-home order in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nitrogen levels have dropped significantly in the city clearing up the air of pollutants.

Here are some surprising ways past epidemics changed everyday life.

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Clear skies in Nepal

Clear skies in Nepal
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Kathmandu in Nepal is notably one of the most polluted cities in the world. By the sixth day of the nationwide lockdown, the restrictions decreased air pollution in Kathmandu Valley so much that the Langtang Mountain range of the Himalayas is now detectable from the city. It has been over 30 years since the mountains have been visible from the city over 160 kilometres away.

Crisp air in New Delhi

Crisp air in New Delhi
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The iconic India Gate war memorial in New Delhi is now closed for visitors during the nationwide lockdown. The monument that is typically covered with smog is now clearly visible due to the improved air quality of the city.

Here are more photos that will define the era of social distancing.

A rainbow in China

A rainbow in China
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While rainbows and coronavirus are mutually exclusive, this beautiful rainbow appeared at Hukou Waterfall Scenic Spot on the Yellow River in China giving the people a glimpse of hope in a seemingly hopeless world.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team