UN warns coronavirus lockdowns could kill hundreds of thousands of children

UN warns coronavirus lockdowns could kill hundreds of thousands of children

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The United Nations warned Thursday in a report that hundreds of thousands of children could die this year due to the global economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and tens of millions more could fall into extreme poverty.

“Economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020, reversing the last 2 to 3 years of progress in reducing infant mortality within a single year,” the U.N. report said.

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The United Nations estimated that between 42 million to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis, adding to the 386 million already in extreme poverty in 2019.

The report added that 188 countries had closed schools nationwide, affecting more than 1.5 billion children, according to Reuters.

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“The potential losses that may accrue in learning for today’s young generation, and for the development of their human capital, are hard to fathom,” the U.N. said. “More than two-thirds of countries have introduced a national distance learning platform, but among low-income countries the share is only 30 percent.”

With businesses shut down and much of the globe told to stay home to fight the spread of coronavirus, the International Monetary Fund has predicted the world would suffer its steepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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So far, coronavirus has infected more than 2 million people around the world and killed 140,773. The U.S. leads the globe in reported cases, with at least 648,788 as of Thursday.

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