Covid-19 forced many water utilities to maintain service with far less revenue. Two bills making their way through Congress could provide support.
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.
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.
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.
The social legitimacy of the ‘COVID-19 lockdown’, government’s regulations imposed to contain the spread of the virus, is most likely to run aground unless an urgent plan can be made to ensure that everyone in the country has access to sufficient food. And it’s not looking good. Based on interviews, statements by various organisations and our own experience, here is our summary of the already-evident impacts of the lockdown on poor people’s access to food, and on the informal food economy – from small farmers to street vendors and spaza shops – that is so important in meeting people’s daily food needs. What’s happened already and what’s coming soon What are the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the lockdown imposed from 27 March 2020? How is the lockdown being interpreted and enforced, and which parts of the food system are being closed down while others are able to continue operations? Here we discuss the immediate scenario of shortages and surpluses – where poor people as producers and traders are unable to continue to produce and sell, while at the same time poor people are unable to access sufficient nutritious food.
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.
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
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.