Analyzing the Effects of COVID-19 in Fairfax County Parks and on Climate Change Communication

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In 2019, a zoonotic disease jumped from animals to human and spread rapidly through respiratory droplets. It came to be known as COVID-19. The pandemic led to closures of universities, movie theaters, fitness centers, and many other facilities. Prominently, among those closures were parks and public lands. Upon observing spikes in park visitation in Fairfax County following a phased reopening, this study aims to find whether the spikes are part of annual trends by analyzing internal data collected from the county and sending out a survey to the general Northern Virginia community. The county data was analyzed quantitatively using tables and charts to show visual trends. The community survey was analyzed using a statistics software that showed variances, generated histograms and displayed normal curves. The results indicated that attendance at outdoor facilities had increased in 2020 compared to previous years, but that certain activities had declined, possibly due in part to government-imposed restrictions and general public anxiety. However, indoor facilities showed a marked decline compared to previous years. People’s concerns about fighting climate change had somewhat increased since the beginning of the pandemic, and about a quarter of the respondents stated that they observed similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate change crisis.
climate change communication, COVID-19, behavior treatments