COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways, one of which is to make everyone across the globe more aware of the importance of hand washing in combating germ transfer. Health care professionals encourage us to sing songs, count to twenty and a myriad of other ideas to ensure that we wash for an appropriate length of time. However, there is a key ingredient in the equation that is missing for a large number of people worldwide: clean water.
In a recent article posted on The Conversation (website), David Feldman, Professor Urban Planning & Public Policy and Political Science, Director of Water UCI, University of California, Irvine, reminds us that water scarcity is increasing for forty percent of the world’s population due to factors such as climate change and population growth. Although there has been advancement in wastewater treatment and the availability of clean drinking water, “nearly 1,000 children die from preventable water-and sanitation-related diseases” every day. Without clean water, people of all ages are not able to take the most basic precaution to protect themselves against this pandemic.
Feldman highlights three areas that require attention. First, he emphasizes the importance addressing climate change and population growth that exacerbate water scarcity. Second, he highlights that many parts of the world lack sanitation and do not treat wastewater properly which impacts the environment and reduces the availability of clean water. Last, he mentions the need for improvements to infrastructure that will, in turn, improve water quality and lessen potential health threats.
Feldman believes a long-term and coordinated response, worldwide, is necessary to make a significant impact on the water crisis. COVID-19 has reinforced the value of global coordination on global issues. The importance of clean water and its role in overall health is undeniable, but sadly something that many cannot count on.
 Feldman, David. “Coronavirus Spotlights the Link between Clean Water and Health.” The Conversation, 23 Mar. 2020, theconversation.com/coronavirus-spotlights-the-link-between-clean-water-and-health-132731.
Photo Credit: Harvard Health Publishing