What a coronavirus virus looks like when you don't have internet

What a coronavirus virus looks like when you don’t have internet

They told her that a deadly virus “such as whooping cough” was sweeping the country and even struck the nearby city of Macau. But she was skeptical because she was too close to home. “I don’t know if this is true,” said Montel, 38, who is part of the largest indigenous group in the country, YW.

When the Colombian government issued a nationwide ban in late April, she and her husband were advised to stay home with their three children, keep them apart, wash their hands and wear masks to avoid the virus, which killed more than 365,000 people worldwide.

But for Montiel, the order to stay home is his own death sentence.

Before closing, Angela sometimes charged the SIM for WhatsApp, but she has not been able to recharge since closing. With no internet connection, there is no “remote” method. Angela ties traditional Wayuu mochila bags but she cannot sell them on the street under current restrictions.

Currently, her family lives from emergency cash payments from the Mercy Corps NGO. It is impossible for her children to continue their education from home without access to school materials online. For updates, they wait for phone calls from friends or family, who may bring the news. Otherwise, they are in the dark.

“Given that we don’t have a TV, internet, or anything, we don’t know whether it’s still going or going on, so obviously we can’t get out or move,” said Montel. “We are in despair.”

A family listens to an hour's radio lesson from their home in Funza, Colombia, where they have no internet connection.
to me United Nations estimatesNearly half of the world’s population – 46% – are still offline. For these people, closing means losing immediate access to vital public health information and job opportunities remotely, Teaching online, Telemedicine dates, Digital grocery deliveryReligious services broadcast live – wedding partiesAnd even Funerals – In addition to the countless other ways that we live more and more online.

Governments around the world have committed to providing universal access by 2020, but the digital divide is still deep and widening inequalities as well.

People in poor areas, such as women, the elderly, and those who live in remote or rural areas, are less likely to contact. In many cases, communication can be weak – the closing of offices, schools, or public places, such as libraries and cafes, has cut off access for many.

“We’ve always said that there are about 3.5 billion people offline, but we know it’s now more, because a lot of people who used to call in their workplaces and other public places no longer have this access,” said Eleanor Sarpong, deputy director at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

“Covid-19 has shown that there is such a big divide, and it is indeed a shock to some governments. When they asked their employees to go home from work … not many of them could.”

Sarpong hopes the crisis will break long-standing barriers to accessing the Internet – from a lack of political will to regulatory hurdles and affordability of data – to connect more of the world.

A4AI, an initiative from the World Wide Web Foundation, founded by Tim Berners-Lee, recently shared a set of policy recommendations, and urged governments, companies and civil society to take urgent action to bring as many people as possible online across the epidemic. Among their immediate recommendations: the abolition of consumer taxes on Internet services. Cutting data charges for public websites; Provide affordable data packets; Expansion of broadband allowances; And the deployment of public wifi network. Some are already taking these steps.

“Governments need to look at access to the Internet, not as a luxury, but to see it as an enabler that can transform their economies … I think it’s an invitation to wake up to them,” Sarpong said.

A gender digital divide

Digital technologies have revolutionized life as we know it. But not everyone benefits equally, and many of them lag behind due to lack of infrastructure, literacy and training.

Only across the world’s least developed countries 19% of people are online. Men are more likely to be associated with 21% of women – and this gender gap is widening.

In India, the aggressive approach to digitization has transferred most of the government benefits over the Internet – from rations to pensions. Even before the epidemic occurred, the country’s poorest people were dependent on digital technology, even though half of the population was offline.

The epidemic has magnified the irony of this situation.

When the crisis struck India’s 1.3 billion people have been shut downThe unofficial nation Economy The ground to the cry stopped. So, when the government announced that it would send direct cash transfers to vulnerable women, widows, the elderly and the handicapped for a period of three months from April 1, that was welcome news. However, stuck at home without smartphones, many couldn’t reach 500 to 1,000 rupees ($ 6 to $ 13) as a help.
People wait outside a bank during closings in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on April 9.

Lal Bai, a 65-year-old widow living in a remote village in Rajasthan, could not travel five miles to the nearest town to withdraw government funds, and had no way to access government funds online, so she soon found without leaving any food in Home.

Dazed, Pai ended up on the doorstep of Umbati Berjapati, who runs a digital service store in her village. “She was the only one who would help me.”

Burgapati is among 10,000 “soochnapreneurs” or digital entrepreneurs, who have been trained and supported before Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), A New Delhi-based NGO in the rural areas of the country. In the midst of the closure, they help provide essential digital services, including remote banking services that allow people like Bai to withdraw cash using biometric portable ATMs. And they even help to fight wrong information.

“Only because of the internet can I see what is happening and tell others that they should wash their hands regularly with soap, use antiseptic and wear masks,” said Berjapati, 27. Help any of these people [if I had not learned how to use the internet]. I couldn’t even help myself. “

Osama Munzer, a social entrepreneur and founder of the German Defense Foundation, says their work in training women like Bergabati has shown how important it is to provide digital infrastructure to the last mile – especially during a disaster.

“Communication and access to the Internet must be part of basic human rights. It must be taken into account, at the time of the epidemic and disasters, just as they provide access to food or water, there must be a way to provide access to data,” Munther said.

A problem for rich countries, too

The digital divide has long been considered a development issue. But the epidemic highlighted that Rich countries also suffer from digital disadvantage.

According to Pew Research, more than four out of every 10 low-income households in America do not have access to broadband services and in the UK, 1.9 million households do not have access to the Internet, while tens of millions of other families rely on on-the-go payment services To connect to the Internet.

Sometimes Helen Milner, CEO of Covid-19, said that people talk about Covid-19 as an amazing level. But in reality, the way people experience closure is not the same. Goodies Foundation, A British charity working with the government to get more people online.
America's Surprising Fertile Land of Inequality: The Internet

“For many people, digital exclusion is just an extension of the social exclusion they face, and poverty is definitely part of that.”

The British government recently launched a number of initiatives to help try to tackle digital exclusion. Among the schemes is a new campaign, DevicesDotNow, Which requires companies to donate devices, sims and portable hotspots. Good Things Foundation helps connect devices to people in need and help with training. To date, they have given nearly 2,000 tablets
Among the recipients was Annette Addison, who lives alone in an apartment in Birmingham, central England and uses a wheelchair for transportation. Before Full closure, She used to go to the local community center to access the Internet and get help with her disability payments. But without a smartphone, she says she felt isolated and mysterious about her gains.

“I wasn’t adjusting at all. I was very lonely and depressed when the shutdown first started, but since I had the tablet … when I feel lonely, I can talk to my grandchildren or my daughter.” They have continuously contacted them, because they are always online. “

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On May 1, Addison turned 60. She celebrated with her grandchildren in a video chat on the new iPad – the same iPad she is now using to check out its benefits portal. She recently subscribed to a dating site as well. She said, “I feel like a teenager.”

But while governments try to offer digital services to those in need, the question remains: Who gets a device and who doesn’t?

Hafsah Sheikh the founder SmartLyteThis is a question that haunts her, Edison said.

“This device is not only about immediate support during Covid, but it is about opening the portal for parents and families for aspirations and opportunities,” Sheikh said. There are currently 1,500 others on the waiting list.

“The biggest challenge is, who do I choose?”

Swati Gupta and Jack Guy of CNN contributed to this report.

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