Covid’s Spreading Fast Because Billions Don’t Have Water to Wash
A severe household water shortage facing two out of five people in the world is undermining efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Frequent and thorough hand washing are among the most effective measures in restricting the spread of the virus because the primary routes of transmission are droplets and direct contact, according to the World Health Organization. Yet, some 3 billion people don’t have access to running water and soap at home, and 4 billion suffer from severe water scarcity for at least one month a year, the United Nations group UN-Water said.
Years of deferred investments in clean water and sanitation are now putting everyone at risk as the virus spreads through developed and developing nations generating a cycle of infection and reinfection.
The world needs to spend $6.7 trillion on water infrastructure by 2030, according to the UN, not just for the urgent sanitation needs, but to tackle longer term issues from the pandemic such as providing better irrigation to head off a potential food crisis, Houngbo said.