What We're Reading: Food Banks Struggle; WHO Updates Mask Protocol; New York City Reopens

June 8, 2020

Food banks are struggling to meet demand after 20 million Americans became unemployed as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic; the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an updated guidance on wearing masks in public; New York City today takes the first steps in reopening after 3 months of lockdown.

Food Banks Face Increasing Demand

Food banks and anti-hunger advocates are facing increasing demand and limited resources as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Politico reports. The pandemic has left more than 20 million Americans unemployed while Congress continues to hold out on increasing food stamp benefits, a measure advocates argue would make it easier for individuals to buy groceries as opposed to waiting in line for hours at food banks. Data released in April found that more than 17% of mothers reported their children under the age of 12 did not get enough to eat because families could not afford food. The data marks a 400% increase from when the government last measured rates of hunger in 2018.

WHO Issues New Guidance on Face Masks

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now recommending governments ask everyone to wear fabric face masks in public to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, according to Reuters. The new guidance, issued on June 5, marks a shift from the WHO’s previous protocol, as it noted in the past there was not enough evidence justifying the use of masks for healthy people in the wider community. Medical masks were only recommended for those who were sick and individuals caring for them. The organization notes face coverings are only 1 of many tools that can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and thus should not offer a false sense of protection.

New York City Begins Phased Reopening

Starting today, nearly 400,000 New Yorkers will return to work in the coming weeks as the city begins reopening after 3 months of pandemic lock down, The New York Times reports. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 22,000 New Yorkers have died while more than 205,000 have been infected. During the peak of the pandemic, as many as 800 individuals were dying from COVID-19 each day in the city. Opening of construction jobs, manufacturing sites, and retail stores marks the first step in a phased re-opening process. Currently, new infections are down to roughly 500 per day, while a recent day of testing reached 33,000 individuals.