Friday, July 17, 2020

Coronavirus News (180)

India records 1 million cases of Covid-19 ... and it's the poorest who are hardest hit  it is the country's marginalized who are suffering the most from the devastating economic toll of lockdowns and job losses. ........  While more than 270 million people across India were able to climb out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, the country remains one of the world's most unequal, with the top 10% of the population holding 77% of the total national wealth -- and that gap only continues to widen ......... As well as unequal access to healthcare, for those who live shoulder to shoulder in overcrowded urban slums -- about 74 million people -- social distancing is impossible. There is little running water or sanitation, putting them at greater risk of contacting the virus. ........  experts say India's rich need to evaluate how the country depends on and treats informal laborers who make up the majority of the country's workforce. Everything from employment rights, access to good education and health care and welfare is suddenly under the microscope. ..........    About 60% of India's 1.3 billion people are considered poor, with about 21% surviving on $2 a day. They often work as unskilled or daily-wage laborers in various industries such as farming or construction. In major cities, they make up a workforce of rickshaw pullers, street and drain cleaners, vegetable sellers, delivery boys, and domestic workers. ..........  "Nine out of ten people are in informal work and it's not that we don't see them," said Harsh Mander, an Indian human rights activist and author. "They're everywhere and yet we never look at them as human beings, we look them as labor that is available at cheap and affordable prices to make our lives comfortable." ............  Because of the lockdown, for the first time many middle and upper class Indians, who rely on an army of maids, cooks, cleaners, drivers and gardeners, are having to cook their own food, clean their own houses, and take out their own trash. .........   "Our reliance is huge, every household, even a middle class household, has a maid coming to clean utensils, or to wash clothes, every single day of the year" .............. On Friday, over 400 million people in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Karantaka's capital city Bengaluru re-entered lockdown conditions after a rise in Covid-19 cases. ............ they are mostly employed on verbal contracts and there is little to no social security available to them. ........  Decisions that have to be made include: should I use the finite water supply to clean the dishes instead of regularly washing my hands and increasing the risk of infection? Should I spend money on a Covid-19 test for a sick relative and deplete my savings, leaving my children at risk of going hungry? ..............  many distressed parents were anxious about where their next meal would come from, how they would pay rent without a job, all while keeping safe from the virus. ........ She said one woman called her scared for her life because she was locked down with her abusive, alcoholic husband who was going through withdrawal symptoms. ...........   the lockdown was imposed a with little thought for the nation's poor. ......... Very often I think about what happened to the vegetable vendor who was sitting outside my house? What has happened to the woman who picks up the trash from outside my house, I wonder where she is ...........  "I am really worried about the jobs, (people) can go a few months but what about after that?"   

An Indian child ragpicker collects valuable waste items from a dumping site on July 15, 2020  in New Delhi, India.

Stranded migrant labourers with their belonging wait to board a special train to Howrah station in Kolkata after the government eased a nationwide lockdown in Chennai on July 9, 2020.

24-year-old who beat Covid-19 after nearly 80 days in the hospital says she regrets not wearing a mask  Castillo went to the emergency room April 27 with difficulty breathing, a cough and a fever. The hospital said she had been exhibiting symptoms for six days prior to going to the ER and that she was placed on a ventilator during her first 24 hours there. .......  "Maybe if I would have just listened and worn a mask, just a simple thing, I would have avoided all this," she told KTVT. "I work at a bank, I'm always around people, but I was like, 'I'm fine, I'm fine.' Never did I think I'd catch it." 


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