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Water insecurity complicates COVID-19 response

While guidelines from the World Health Organization call for frequent handwashing, physical distancing and proper sanitation to limit the spread of COVID-19, a recent analysis shows how water insecurity around the world complicates these mitigation efforts.

President’s Professors Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich, researchers with Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, are co-authors of a study outlining the effects of household water insecurity in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Handwashing Image Image courtesy of Unsplash.
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Researchers looked at the results of a 2017–18 survey about household water use — specifically questions related to hygiene, physical distancing and contextual factors such as household sanitation.

“Our analysis of empirical data from 8,297 households across 29 LMIC (Low- and Middle-Income Country) sites illustrate how the WHO guidelines for COVID-19 control are difficult to meet given the everyday realities faced by billions of people. For example, 71% of households had recently experienced a water-related problem that has the potential to undermine COVID-19 control strategies or intensify disease progression, and 46% faced specific challenges with handwashing and physical distancing, both core elements of WHO's guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and control.”

Read the full paper to learn more.

Article Source: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Taylor Woods

Communications program coordinator, School of Human Evolution and Social Change