KEY POINTS

  • New satellite images show the effect of the outbreak on various places
  • The images were captured from space by a private aerospace company
  • Makeshift hospitals and testing centers were also featured in the photos

A private space tech firm has captured new satellite images of the effect of the world’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The photos highlight the effect of social distancing in areas that used to be some of the most crowded places on Earth.

The new images were captured by the orbiting satellites of the Colorado-based company Maxar Technologies. Last week, the company released satellite images of Iran’s mass graves for COVID-19 victims.

Maxar Technologies’ latest set of photos focuses on some of the most visited places on Earth before community quarantines and lockdowns were implemented. In some of the photos, the company showed an aerial view of the Interstate 405 interchange with I-105 in Los Angeles, California, taken on Nov. 29 last year.

In the next couple of photos, Maxar Technologies showed images of the same highway system taken on March 22. The difference in the images clearly shows the effect of social distancing and lockdowns as the highway interchange and areas surrounding it appear deserted.

Other areas featured in Maxar Technologies’ photos include the Golden Gate Bridge and Chrissy Park in San Francisco, the Coliseum in Rome, The Santa Monica Pier in California, Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, St. Peter’s Square in Rome and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

In addition to famous tourist destinations, Maxar Technologies was also able to spot new structures that were specifically built due to the coronavirus outbreak. These medical facilities, which are mostly hospitals and testing centers, were constructed and established in only a couple of months due to the spread of the virus.

Many of the newly-built medical facilities spotted by the company from space are located in China. In Germany, the local government converted the Oktoberfest beer festival grounds in Munich into a massive drive-through testing center. Similarly, the Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil, was turned into a hospital in response to the growing number of confirmed cases in the country.

According to Maxar Technologies, these kinds of makeshift facilities in various countries are expected to increase in number due to the current status of the pandemic.

“Maxar is scanning our recent satellite imagery for the construction of medical facilities in response to the coronavirus,” the company said according to Space.com. “These seem to be popping up slowly at hospitals, in/around sports facilities and other places.”

“We expect to find more of these facilities being creating in the coming days/weeks,” the company added.

Interstate 405 Satellite image captured By Maxar Technologies on March 22. Photo: Maxar Technologies