SEATTLE, Washington — Coronavirus is the hottest topic in the news. Be it the effects on the economy or unemployment, it is impossible to not hear about COVID-19 daily. However, there is very little coverage on the world’s poor and their plight. To them, COVID-19 is just another disease to add to the list of issues they worry about. Below are some facts about the struggles of COVID-19 and the world’s poor.
6 Facts about COVID-19 and the World’s Poor
- Increasing Poverty Rates – As the virus rages, The World Bank’s predictions of poverty rates continue to increase. The most recent one stating that between 71 and 100 million people could be forced into extreme poverty this year. A majority of these people are located in South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. This would be a major blow to regions that already are on the brink of extreme poverty and are home to more than half of the world’s extreme poor.
- The Crisis Affects Children The Most – The number of children living in poor households could increase by 106 million if left unchecked. In addition to this, COVID-19 has caused schools to close, leaving those without access to the internet in the dark for education. They are unable to continue their education, which could lead to an education blackout in certain parts of the world.
- Increased Child Mortality Rates – As a result of COVID-19, child mortality rates are slowly increasing for the first time in decades. According to UNICEF, immunization programs and supply chains have begun to break down in third world countries. Thus, those in need are not receiving critical supplies. However, the World Health Organization and the United States can strengthen aid programs through funding. Therefore, they can provide the resources needed before many more children lose their lives.
- Help Is Being Provided – The World Bank has provided support to 100 countries in order to “help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector and bolster economic recovery.” The U.S. has also provided assistance for approximately 130 countries. The aid has helped those in sub-Saharan Africa and other countries with heavily displaced communities. The assistance provided to millions of people has given them the chance to better weather the storm of coronavirus. As a result, several countries are revamping their health programs to provide more assistance for those in need.
- Crucial Health Programs Are Being Drained Due To COVID-19 – USAID has also contributed $12 billion in foreign aid to combat the coronavirus. Though this is very generous, the aid has not made a significant impact in helping the world’s poor. Furthermore, other aid programs’ funding is being reallocated to redouble the efforts against COVID-19. This reallocation of funds could prove detrimental to the world’s poor since coronavirus is not the only disease they are fighting.
- China Is A Major Contributor To The World’s Poor – Since China has gotten its cases under control for the most part. It has begun sending out shipments of PPEs and ventilators to other countries in need. Though the United States has provided a large monetary contribution through USAID and other organizations, it has not sent out any equipment as that is still very much needed to combat COVID-19 in the U.S.
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the world’s poor. Whether it be in the form of virus spread or other social issues, it is wreaking unprecedented havoc. In order to voice support for the world’s poor and make sure that the U.S. does all it can to help them, people can call or email their representatives in Congress.
– Thomas Penland