Covid-19 forced many water utilities to maintain service with far less revenue. Two bills making their way through Congress could provide support.
The charity which runs the national domestic abuse helpline has had a 10-fold increase in visits to its website in the past two weeks. Refuge said numbers have “spiked again significantly” since it started recording rises during lockdown. The charity said the lockdown itself does not cause domestic abuse but “can aggravate pre-existing behaviours in an abusive partner”. Police figures suggest a wide regional variation in calls about abuse. Fears that social conditions created by the coronavirus lockdown could result in a spike in domestic abuse led the government to boost funding for services by £76m
With more than 31,000 cases, Mumbai accounts for more than a fifth of India’s coronavirus infections and nearly a quarter of deaths. The BBC’s Yogita Limaye finds out why India’s financial capital is so badly affected. Mumbai has long been described as a city always on the run. It sounds like a cliché, but as someone who has lived here most of my life, I can confirm it’s true. Even during the 2008 attack, on a day when there were active gunmen in south Mumbai, in other parts of the city, trains were running, millions went to work, and restaurants and offices remained open. But Covid-19 has turned the city into a ghost town as a stringent lockdown remains in place with no easing of restrictions. It has also left its medical infrastructure on the brink of collapse.
Before coronavirus began to spread across the globe, health systems in Yemen were already burdened and at a breaking point after five years of relentless war. By December 2019, more than half of all health facilities had closed or were only partially functional, leaving 19.7 million people, including 10.2 million children, without adequate access to healthcare. With no doctors to be found in nearly 20% of the 333 districts in Yemen,[i] children were dying at the hands of preventable diseases, including diarrhea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections.[ii] Despite the enormous challenges, Save the Children reaches the most vulnerable children across Yemen, making sure they have enough food to eat, can access healthcare, can continue their education, and are protected from violence. Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve reached more than three million children with crucial support.
As many as six migrants, including a four-year-old and a one-month-old, have died in the course of and after travelling on these trains. After waiting for longer than a month from the time that the lockdown was announced, thousands of migrant workers took the trains to their hometowns, hoping to get temporary relief from the extreme uncertainty of the bigger cities. But, with trains getting diverted to different routes due to congestion and soaring temperatures, many have been dying on these very trains. A video which went viral over social media and was aired on several news channels showed a toddler playing with a piece of cloth covering his mother, who didn’t move, as she was dead. According to NDTV, the video was from a station in Muzaffarpur in Bihar, where the 23-year-old woman had arrived in a special train for migrants on Monday.
In recent weeks, we have seen a rise in coronavirus casualties within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre reported that 35% of almost 2,000 patients were non-white. This is a troubling statistic, especially when considering that minority ethnicities make up 13% of the UK population, but one-third of casualties. Head of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has also reiterated that “at face value, it seems hard to see how this can be random”. An inquiry has been launched by Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee to look into why people with protected characteristics, including ethnicity, have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau data shows, the most definitive and alarming sign yet of the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic. When asked questions normally used to screen patients for mental health problems, 24 percent showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30 percent showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The findings suggest a huge jump from before the pandemic. For example, on one question about depressed mood, the percentage reporting such symptoms was double that found in a 2014 national survey.
As COVID-19 leads to a “cash crunch” for the private health sector in developing countries, Mark Hellowell (University of Edinburgh), Andrew Myburgh, Mirja Sjoblom and Srinivas Gurazada (World Bank Group) and Dave Clarke (World Health Organization), consider the opportunities and risks of providing state support to health care businesses. The World Health Organization is calling on countries to adopt a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, this requires policymakers to include the private health sector in efforts to contain, control and mitigate the health impacts of the outbreak. However, data gathered from a series of interviews with key informants in 12 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Iran) has highlighted a surprising finding. Just as pressure is increasing on countries to ramp up health system capacity, measures designed to “flatten the curve” are reducing the demand for care and creating a “cash crunch” for the private health sector – one that is forcing providers to scale back their businesses and even lay off health workers.
A BBC team tracking coronavirus misinformation has found links to assaults, arsons and deaths. And experts say the potential for indirect harm caused by rumours, conspiracy theories and bad health information could be much bigger. “We thought the government was using it to distract us,” says Brian Lee Hitchens, “or it was to do with 5G. So we didn’t follow the rules or seek help sooner.” Brian, 46, is talking by phone from his hospital bed in Florida. His wife is critically ill – sedated, on a ventilator in an adjacent ward.