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Pandemic puts up to 86 million children at risk of poverty: study

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Poverty A child is seen in Karachi, Pakistan (Asif Hassan:AFP)

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic could push as many as 86 million more children into poverty by the end of 2020, a joint study by Save the Children and UNICEF showed Wednesday.

That would bring the total number of children affected by poverty worldwide to 672 million, an increase of 15 percent over last year, the two aid agencies said in a statement.

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Nearly two-thirds of those children overall live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

But the pandemic-driven increase is expected to occur mainly in Europe and Central Asia, according to the study, which is based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund projections and population data from some 100 countries.

“The scale and depth of financial hardship among families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing child poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore is quoted as saying in the statement.

With immediate and decisive action, “we can prevent and contain the pandemic threat facing the poorest countries and some of the most vulnerable children,” added Save the Children head Inger Ashing.

They are “highly vulnerable to even short periods of hunger and malnutrition — potentially affecting them for their whole life,” she warns in the statement.

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The two organizations call on governments to rapidly expand their social security systems and school feeding to limit the effects of the pandemic.


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Florida to investigate all COVID-19 deaths after questions about ‘integrity’ of data

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida, which has reported the deaths of more than 16,400 people from COVID-19, now says the public may not be able to trust any of those numbers.The state Department of Health on Wednesday ordered an investigation of all pandemic fatalities, one week after House Speaker Jose Oliva slammed the death data from medical examiners as “often lacking in rigor” and undermining “the completeness and reliability of the death records.”House Democrats then blasted the House Republicans’ report as an insult to coronavirus victims and an attempt “to downplay the death toll.”The pol... (more…)

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Suicides never actually went up under COVID-19 as Trump suggested: report

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President Donald Trump has spent the better part of the past several months justifying the reopening despite the COVID-19 pandemic by saying that people are dying whether it was from the coronavirus or something else.

“I mean, we have never closed the country before, and we have had some pretty bad flus, and we have had some pretty bad viruses" Trump said at a Fox News town hall in March. “You’re going to have suicides by the thousands.”

“People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies. You have death," he said at a press briefing that same month. "Probably and — I mean, definitely — would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”

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Volunteer in Oxford COVID-19 vaccine test dies in Brazil: officials

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A volunteer participating in clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University has died in Brazil, officials said Wednesday, though it was unclear whether he received the vaccine or a placebo.

It is the first death reported in the various coronavirus vaccine trials taking place worldwide.

However, organizers of the study said an independent review had concluded there were no safety concerns and that testing of the vaccine, developed with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, would continue.

Media reports said the volunteer was a 28-year-old doctor working on the front lines of the pandemic who died of complications from Covid-19.

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