Places Without People
July 31, 2022 8:56 PM   Subscribe

What studies were conducted during the pandemic lockdowns that couldn't have been conducted in regular times?

Around the onset of the global Covid lockdowns in 2020, I remember seeing an article about some researchers taking advantage of the unique situation of city life at a standstill. It may have been some metropolis in India, and the researchers maybe were eager to study some aspect about the enviroment when no people were about. My memory is hazy.

Whether or not my vague description rings a bell, I'd be interested to hear about social, scientific or other studies taking advantage of Covid lockdowns and what was discovered.
posted by Leontine to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How fast can one drive across America in the various Cannonball attempts? :)
posted by kschang at 9:10 PM on July 31, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The podcast 99% invisible did an episode about a number of scientific experiments made possible by the lockdown, called The Natural Experiment.

It's a fascinating episode, it includes studies on whales living in silent waters for the first time in living memory, air pollution, and vaccine hesitance.
posted by Zumbador at 9:21 PM on July 31, 2022 [6 favorites]

This might not be exactly what you are looking for, but < 1 year from initial reports of a new virus to highly effective mRNA vaccine only happened because all other clinical trials were paused.

In 2018 I joined a working group tackling moral injury in healthcare workers. It took about 6 months in 2019 to gather a few hundred responses to validate an online survey. Over less than 6 weeks in 2020, we got >1800 responses.
posted by basalganglia at 3:37 AM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Not people, but whale research in Alaska was able to get unprecedented results because of the lack of ship and boat traffic and noise.
posted by QuakerMel at 11:30 AM on August 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

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