Discussion: How the coronavirus affects already fragile communities

The World
Updated on

Global cases of the coronavirus pushed past 20 million on Monday. The disease has infected at least four times the average number of people struck down with severe influenza illnesses annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Additionally, the death toll from COVID-19, at more than 728,000, has outpaced the upper range of annual deaths from the flu.

Based on government reports, and tallied by Reuters, the disease is accelerating. It took almost six months to reach 10 million cases after the first infection was reported in Wuhan, China, in early January. It took just 43 days to double that tally to 20 million.

Related: How the coronavirus crisis has exposed entrenched health inequities

How has the pandemic changed places of armed conflict or refugee settlements that are already fragile due to violence and deprivation? How are women  — often responsible for the bulk of caregiving — particularly affected? And, how can we ensure equitable access to vaccines within the world’s most vulnerable communities?

As part of our regular series of conversations on the pandemic and presented jointly with The Forum at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The World's Elana Gordon moderated a discussion with Jocelyn Kelly, director of the program on gender, rights and resilience at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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