Apr 17, 2020 - Health

UN: Millions of children at risk of poverty and malnutrition due to coronavirus

A boy plays at junction of the Han River and the Yangtze River on April 17 in Wuhan, China. Photo: Getty Images/Stringer

Millions of children around the world are endangered by the coronavirus pandemic, despite being a low-risk age group to contract COVID-19, the United Nations warned in a report released this week.

The big picture: Lack of schooling, poverty caused by lost family income, malnourishment, and risk of abuse while staying at home all pose dangers to children during the crisis.

What they found: Roughly 42 million to 66 million children could experience extreme poverty this year as a result of the pandemic, the UN estimates.

  • Over 1.5 billion children and youth are currently out of school, due to closures made in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Widespread malnutrition is expected as more than 350 million children who depend on school meals have to find food elsewhere.
  • Although about two-thirds of countries around the world have introduced online or long-distance learning programs, only 30% of low-income countries have that access.
  • Economic hardships experienced by families could cause hundreds of thousands of children to die this year, the UN reports.
  • Stay-at-home orders, while necessary to slow the spread of the virus, heighten the risk that children are exposed to violence and abuse from adults. If child abuse occurs, children have a diminished ability to report to teachers or social workers.

What they're saying: "All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good. This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong," the report says.

Go deeper: The coronavirus may be a defining experience for Gen Z

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

About 40.7 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic began, including 2.1 million more claims filed from last week.

Why it matters: Even as states reopen their economies, Americans are still seeking relief. Revised data out Thursday also showed U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimate of 4.8%.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,731,837 — Total deaths: 356,606 — Total recoveries — 2,376,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,703,989 — Total deaths: 100,651 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  4. Business: U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter — 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  5. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  6. ⚽️ Sports: English Premier League set to return June 17.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.