Things That Matter

The Coronavirus Has Killed Thousands Of People And Now Many Fear It Could Push Millions More Into Extreme Poverty

Around the world, governments have taken action to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Yet more than four million people have been infected and the death count has surpassed 300,000 – and continues to grow.

As the virus continues to claim victims, many are also worried about the economic fallout from this global pandemic. Many of the world’s poorest countries have made huge advances in pulling millions out from poverty over the past decade. But now, tens of millions are at risk of being pushed right back into it

The economic devastation the pandemic wreaks on the ultra-poor could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself.

Across the globe, lockdowns and social distancing measures have erased incomes and made it difficult for people to afford even basic food items – especially in the poorest parts of the world.

The United Nations predicts that a global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty, defined as earning less than $2 a day.

“I feel like we’re watching a slow-motion train wreck as it moves through the world’s most fragile countries,” said Nancy Lindborg, president of the nonprofit U.S. Institute of Peace, in an interview with the LA Times.

Mexico in particular is worried about the effects on its poorest citizens.

Over the past decade, Mexico has made enormous progress is helping nearly 30 million Mexicans escape extreme poverty. But now, all of that progress is in jeopardy.

The economic fallout from coronavirus could add nine million people to Mexico’s poor, according to a government study released on Monday. The report also calls for aid like pensions and insurance, in a country that provides no federal jobless benefits.

With businesses forced to close to help stop the spread of the disease, more than 346,000 formal jobs were lost between mid-March and early April, the government said, with further layoffs expected as the economy shrinks. That’s not including the millions of jobs in the informal economy that have also been lost.

Mexico also relies heavily on money sent from relatives working in the United States. With the U.S. economy also heavily battered, remittances are beginning to dry up.

“Families are not receiving their remittances,” said Abel Barrera Hernández, an anthropologist in Mexico’s impoverished Guerrero state. 

The consequences are being felt across Latin America.

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In Guatemala, villagers are begging for food along highways by waving pieces of white cloth at passing drivers. In Colombia, the hungriest hang red flags from their homes in hope of donations.

In Venezuela, which for years has been roiled by food scarcities, soaring inflation and street protests calling for the removal of President Nicolás Maduro, life was miserable for many before the pandemic, and it has only gotten worse.

Among the most vulnerable groups are Indigenous communities – which were already struggling before the pandemic.

Already poor, Mexico’s Indigenous people have been forced to face the virus with few defenses. Although official infection rates have remained low, the Coronavirus is having an outsized impact on Indigenous communities across the country.

One man, Samuel, 54, from the Zoque community, committed suicide after learning about his Covid-19 diagnosis. He hung himself from a tree where his body remained for several hours because the community didn’t have any protective gear to help bring his body down – a grim illustration of the plight of Indigenous peoples around the world.

Some ethnic groups have taken their own protective measures, such as shutting off access to their territories.

“For now it is the only way to stop contagion in these communities, where there is also a lack of hospitals and medicine,” said Adelfo Regino, director of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, or INPI in Spanish.

All of this dire economic news comes as much of the world has made huge gains in helping communities overcome poverty.

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Since the Great Recession, the world has made huge progress in reducing poverty around the globe. In fact, over the last three decades more than 1 billion people – or 13% of the world’s population – have risen out of extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. 

Though the gains were largely driven by the economic gains of China and India, countries around the world have seen success. Across Latin America, Brazil and Mexico have largely driven the gains. Mexico is now the world’s 11th largest economy and has added millions of people to its middle class.

But Coronavirus poses a major threat to these economic miracles. If the Coronavirus has shown us anything, it’s the interconnection between all of the world’s countries.

Police Brutality Protests Intensify Following Autopsy Of Mexican Who Died In Police Custody

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Police Brutality Protests Intensify Following Autopsy Of Mexican Who Died In Police Custody

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Protests against police brutality have sprung up around the world. People are tired of police departments killing unarmed citizens and the latest unrest is coming from Mexico after a man was killed by police after being arrested.

Mexican protests against police brutality intensified this week.

Protesters took to the streets through Jalisco to protest the death of Giovanni López at the hands of the police. The 24-year-old was allegedly arrested for not wearing a face mask on May 4 in Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, Jalisco, near Guadalajara. An autopsy of López revealed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head prompting protests against police brutality.

A video of the arrest has been spreading all over social media showing López being arrested by a group of police officers.

People at the scene and in the video are shocked at the force used in the arrest. Multiple police officers can be seen surrounding López as they attempt to put him in the police car. The police officers can be heard degrading López and those defending him during the arrest.

“Vanni, we’re coming for you,” a man is heard saying.

“Shut up, you p*ssy,” a police officer responds.

López can be heard begging for help as the police apprehended him.

According to the video, police claim that López was resisting arrest to justify the police presence at the arrest. There are unsubstantiated allegations of government-backed attempts to bribe López’s family for their silence.

López’s death sparked intense protests in Mexico demanding justice and police accountability.

#JusticiaParaGiovanni demonstrations, centralized in Jalisco, cropped up after the autopsy was released. There were already Black Lives Matter protests happening in Mexico to show support for the U.S. movement. López’s death amplified that anger and the result is violent protests.

One video circulating on social media shows a police officer being set on fire.

State Prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solís claims that López was arrested for “aggressive behavior” but the family disputes that claim. Mexicans have long had a contentious relationship with law enforcement, many of which have been trained by U.S. forces.

“There are long histories of police brutality in both countries,” Tom Long, an expert on Mexican security at the University of Warwick, told The Guardian. “[Militarization] is a recipe for police violence, particularly aimed at those with the fewest monetary and societal resources to hold (them) accountable.”

READ: Venezuelan Singer Chyno Posted A Video Mocking Protesters And Calling Them Imbeciles And Delinquents

Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

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Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

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A recent survey shows that thirty-five percent of workers who telecommute said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of doing so amid the coronavirus lockdown. As someone who has gone from working in a social, fun-filled, compassionate office space, I can consider myself part of that 35%.

Although working from home (for those privileged enough to do so) is a necessity for our safety and that of the community – it definitely presents some unique challenges.

Yes, the benefits are many: avoiding transit problems and the stress of commuting; sidestepping office politics; adopting a flexible schedule that allows for chores and errands to be incorporated into the work day; more time with family and pets; and a break on keeping up a business wardrobe and other appearance-related expenses.

But there’s a dark side. It’s an arrangement that fosters isolation and disconnection, two conditions that feed the greedy depression monster.

Here are some excellent tips for taking care of your mental health during these unprecedented times.

Break up your workday

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Some common challenges when working from home during the pandemic is the lack of stimulation and connection to people you used to see regularly. This can become a bit confusing, so it’s great to try to break up the schedule.

One of the best tips for working from home that I’ve discovered is breaking up the work day with movement. This can be a quick burst of movement (like jumping jacks, or lifting kettle bells) or some lower impact movement like a walk. I’m also a huge fan of taking a mid-afternoon break (longer than your typical 30-minute lunch break) to go on a long walk or run errands.

Get a routine and stick to it

Routine is essential, and it’s even more important when structure is missing.

Sticking to a routine does not mean that you have to abide by the old standard 9-5 office hours, and only take downtime in the evening. It simply means that you have a system for waking up on time, getting ready, feeling confident and getting your work done in a timely manner. 

When you do this regularly enough, it will feel more natural over time, and you won’t have to think about it so much. For me, this has meant taking my dogs out on a walk to get a coffee in the morning and then coming home and getting to work – it’s like creating my own little commute.

Stay connected

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Remember to keep up with friends and family, even if that can only be done through a Zoom or FaceTime call. Text someone you care about, and when restrictions are lifted in your area, try to make plans as regularly as you feel comfortable.

Connection is key, and it can be challenging when you don’t leave your home for long stretches of time.

It’s also helpful to join platforms of people doing similar work as you and interacting with them throughout the day. Or you can join an online book club or participate in volunteer work – having this sort of obligation will go a long way in helping you show up when you don’t feel great.

Incorporate wellness activities into your day

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One of the biggest perks of working from home is that you get to do things you might not be able to if you’re in an office all day.

I’ve been doing 20 minute walks around my neighborhood while listening to music. This moves the energy in the body and allow us to to have a shift in consciousness, which is so important when you’ve been isolated in front of a computer screen.

Another way to experience new energy in the body is to pause from work, find a comfortable place to sit, and then do deep belly breaths. This involves taking one deep breath in, and then focus on the exhale. You’ll notice your shoulders will relax, and your body will feel lighter.

Learn how to detach

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It’s so important when working from home that you keep your work and personal lives and actual physical areas totally separate. For many, it may not be possible to create an actual separate office space but you can create workspaces outside of your most “lived in” spaces. That’s what matters most.

There is a risk that working hours will get longer if the boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. It is necessary to establish a rigid system in which work can be carried out in a planned manner, such as by setting working hours and the timing of contact with supervisors.

No matter what you do, remember that working from home is yet another “new normal” to get used to — and the sooner you adapt to what makes you most productive, healthy, and mentally well, the better.