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For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

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For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

Sakshi Venkatraman 6h ago / 3:06 PM UTCFor Fabliha Anbar, 20, her LGBTQ identity is an important part of her social and academic life. She’s out to friends, on social media and at her progressive university, where she founded the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective.But last month, when her campus closed due to the coronavirus…

For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

Sakshi Venkatraman

6h ago / 3:06 PM UTC

For Fabliha Anbar, 20, her LGBTQ identity is an important part of her social and academic life. She’s out to friends, on social media and at her progressive university, where she founded the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective.

But last month, when her campus closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anbar returned home — and back to the proverbial closet.

Since schools across the U.S. started to close in mid-March to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, LGBTQ advocates say a number of queer youth and young adults have lost crucial support systems and have been forced to self-isolate with unsupportive family members.

This decision to ask students to leave could be particularly disruptive for LGBTQ students — who may lack family support or a home to return to.

LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their straight & cisgender peers. https://t.co/bRK24wQKYG

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 17, 2020

Read the full story here.

Andy Eckardt

7h ago / 3:00 PM UTC

Vienna Airport to offer virus tests to avoid quarantine

Vienna Airport will offer onsite coronavirus testing starting Monday to enable passengers entering Austria to avoid having to be quarantined for 14 days, according to a news release Sunday.

Passengers arriving at the airport in the country’s capital have been required to present a health certificate showing a negative COVID-19 result which is no older than four days, or go into quarantine. Beginning Monday, passengers can have a molecular biological COVID-19 test at the airport, and get the result in about three hours, the airport said.

The airport tests — which cost 190 euros, or $209 — can also be taken by passengers leaving Vienna to demonstrate their virus-free status at their destination. Austria has reported more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday. 

Reuters

8h ago / 1:49 PM UTC

Pope says vaccine must be shared worldwide

Pope Francis called for international scientific cooperation to discover a vaccine for the coronavirus on Sunday and said any successful vaccine should be made available around the world.

In his address from the papal library, the pontiff encouraged international cooperation to deal with the crisis and combat the virus. “In fact, it is important to unite scientific capabilities, in a transparent and impartial way to find vaccines and treatments,” he said.

Francis said it was also important to “guarantee universal access to essential technologies that allow each infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary medical treatment.”

World leaders pledged in April to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share them around the globe, but the United States did not take part in the launch of the World Health Organization initiative.

Luke Denne

8h ago / 1:14 PM UTC

As people get back to work, cities look for social-distancing solutions for the busy commute

Commuters wearing protective face masks make their way along a suburban train platform as they arrive at at the Gare du Nord RER station in Paris France, on Wednesday.Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

As coronavirus lockdowns ease and people around the world begin to escape from their homes, a new challenge emerges. How do you socially distance on the commute?

Stay two meters (6.5ft) apart on a bus in Berlin? Or on the subway in Seoul? Likely to be challenging.

While many may choose to continue working from home, others will face no choice but to travel to work.

And with transit systems in major cities notoriously overcrowded, a nervous public may look for alternatives in which social distancing can be maintained.

Read the rest here.

Isobel van Hagen

9h ago / 12:35 PM UTC

Nearly half of British doctors forced to find their own PPE, survey shows

Almost half of doctors in the U.K. have relied upon donated or self-bought personal protective equipment and two-thirds still don’t feel fully protected from coronavirus, a new survey by the British Medical Association showed on Sunday.  

More than 16,000 doctors answered the poll from the labor union which represents doctors in the U.K. It is believed to be the largest review of frontline National Health Service workers since the crisis began. As of Jan. 2020 there are a total of 125,308 doctors working for the country’s National Health Service, according to its latest workforce statistics.  

“On the one-hand it shows how resourceful they have been and how much support there has been from the general public in providing kit; but far more importantly, it is a damning indictment of the government’s abject failure to make sure healthcare workers across the country are being supplied with the life-saving kit they should be,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA council chair said as the data was released.  

The U.K. government has faced continued criticism from health workers over a lack of sufficient protective gear, as well as complaints surrounding low levels of virus testing. Britain has so far reported more than 180,000 cases.

Perhaps most distressingly, we heard that 65% of doctors felt only partly, or not at all protected from #COVID19 at work. And 1 in 4 report worsening mental distress during the pandemic.

Read more on these results here https://t.co/v5OzyvVGDZ 3/4

— The BMA (@TheBMA) May 3, 2020

Hernan Muñoz Ratto

9h ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Spain reports lowest daily death toll in nearly seven weeks

Spain has reported its lowest number of deaths in almost seven weeks, with 164 recorded on Sunday by the country’s Health Ministry. While it was the lowest single-day increase since March 18, it nonetheless brought the total number to 25,264. 

The ministry also reported 838 new cases on Sunday, marking the first time the daily figure has dipped below 1,000. Spain has a total of 217,466 cases, the highest number in Europe and second only in the world to the United States.

“Experts say a vaccine for coronavirus could be available by the end of the year. We know that towards the end of 2020, we’ll have a very low transmission rate. But we could have a COVID-19 resurgence in October,” Fernando Simon, the head of Spain’s Emergency Coordination Centre, said in a press briefing Sunday.

The declining death rate is an encouraging sign for Spain, which on Saturday took a large step towards loosening its lockdown by allowing adults to exercise outdoors for the first time in seven weeks.

Yuliya Talmazan

7h ago / 2:26 PM UTC

U.K.’s Boris Johnson says doctors prepared to announce his death as he fought COVID-19

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson displaying his Get Well Soon cards sent in by children while he was ill with COVID-19, at his office in central London last Tuesday.Andrew Parsons / AFP – Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that doctors prepared to announce his death as he battled coronavirus, ending up in intensive care, last month.

Johnson said that he was given “litres and litres of oxygen” to keep him alive as he recounted his life-or-death experience with the virus.

“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it,” the prime minister, who only days ago announced the birth of his son with partner Carrie Symonds, said in an emotional interview to Britain’s The Sun on Sunday newspaper. “They had a strategy.”

Read the whole story here.

Leou Chen and Associated Press

11h ago / 10:48 AM UTC

Travel in China surges as residents flock to tourist sites during 5-day holiday

Chinese people are flocking to tourist sites — many of which have recently reopened — during a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday. 

Nearly 1.7 million people visited Beijing parks on the first two days of the holiday that began on May 1, and Shanghai’s main tourist spots welcomed more than a million visitors, according to Chinese media reports.

The surge comes after a relaxation of domestic travel restrictions as the outbreak slows in mainland China and the government tries to reboot the economy. The country reported just two new cases as of Sunday and no new deaths. The number of confirmed cases stands at 82,877. Most of the patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

The number of people traveling and visiting sites remains lower than an average year. Many sites are requiring advance reservations and limiting the number of daily visitors to 30 percent of capacity or less. Popular destinations such as the Forbidden City, the ancient imperial palace in Beijing, are sold out.

Visitors wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus walk through the Forbidden City in Beijing on Friday.Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Stella Kim and Reuters

11h ago / 10:47 AM UTC

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South Korea reports no new deaths as social distancing rules to be relaxed

South Korea reported no new deaths for the first time since February on Sunday.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the death toll remained at 250. It also reported just 13 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total 10,793. In total, 9,183 of those cases have recovered, the KCDC said. 

As infections continue to wane, South Korea will further relax social distancing rules starting on May 6, allowing a phased reopening of businesses, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun confirmed Sunday.

The government “will allow businesses to resume at facilities in phases that had remained closed up until now, and also allow gatherings and events to take place assuming they follow disinfection guidelines,” he told a televised meeting of government officials.

Associated Press

12h ago / 9:06 AM UTC

Indian Air Force showers flower petals to thank health workers

The Indian Air Force showered flower petals on hospitals across different cities including the national capital of New Delhi in a series of flypasts on Sunday, as part of the Armed Forces’ efforts to thank doctors, nurses and police who have been at the forefront of the country’s battle against the pandemic.

Almost 40,000 cases have been recorded in the the country of 1.3 billion as it enters the 40th day of a nationwide lockdown to contain the virus. The country’s official death toll has reached 1,301.

The almost six-week lockdown, which was scheduled to end Monday, has been extended another two weeks with a few relaxations. The lockdown has slowed the spread of the virus, but has come at the enormous cost of upending lives and millions of lost jobs across the country.



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For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

For Fabliha Anbar, 20, her LGBTQ identity is an important part of her social and academic life. She’s out to friends, on social media and at her progressive university, where she founded the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective. But last month, when her campus closed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Anbar returned home…

For LGBTQ youth, home might not be a safe place to self-isolate

For Fabliha Anbar, 20, her LGBTQ identity is an important part of her social and academic life. She’s out to friends, on social media and at her progressive university, where she founded the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective. But last month, when her campus closed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Anbar returned home — and back to the proverbial closet.

“Having to go home and act a certain way 24/7 is a means for survival,” said Anbar, who asked that the name of her university and hometown not be published. “That can be straining emotionally and extremely damaging.”

For the past six weeks, Anbar has been self-isolating in a small, two-bedroom house with her parents, whom she said she doesn’t feel safe coming out to.

Anbar’s situation is not unique. Since schools across the U.S. started to close in mid-March to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, LGBTQ advocates say a number of queer youth and young adults have lost crucial support systems and have been forced to self-isolate with unsupportive family members.

“They may have had to go back in the closet if they were out at school. If they had support from a GSA or an LGBTQ club or group at school, they don’t have that anymore,” said Ellen Kahn, senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ rights group.

Kahn said she’s particularly concerned about those “who are in overtly hostile environments,” saying, “It could put them at risk of physical or emotional abuse; it could force them out to the streets.”

‘Students might feel isolated’

Danushi Fernando, the director of LGBTQ and gender resources at Vassar College in New York, said a number of students with whom she works “voiced their concerns” about returning home when the campus announced it would close last month.

“We are super aware that there are people who are not able to go back to their homes because either they’re not safe, or students aren’t out to their families,” she said.

After discussing this situation with the university administration, Vassar opened up some dorms on a case-by-case basis to students who felt unsafe leaving.

But for some of those who did leave — thinking their departure would just be for an extended spring break — living back at their parents’ house has been uncomfortable or isolating.

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“There are lots of times that students might feel isolated,” she said. “There are students who have reached out like, ‘Do you know of anyone in Idaho that I could connect with?’”

As for Anbar, she said she’s been hosting virtual programming and support groups over Zoom, joined by people from all over the world, for the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective. If she’s within earshot of her parents, she said she has to be careful.

“It does get kind of scary,” she said. “That’s why I make sure to be very careful about the words that I choose. I usually take advantage of the language barrier between me and my parents. I say things like ‘queer’ rather than ‘lesbian.’”

When speaking to her parents, she said she describes the South Asian Queer and Trans Collective, the organization she dedicates so much time to, as a “feminist collective,” which she said “isn’t entirely wrong.”

‘Stuck at home with abusers’

In the weeks following school closures, child abuse and neglect hotlines, like the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, reported an inundation of calls and texts from young people newly confined to unsafe environments.

“A lot of these young people are stuck at home with abusers,” Daphne Young, the organization’s chief communications officer, said. “College kids are coming home from school and have to re-enter the home with perpetrators.”

Young said LGBTQ youth and adolescents have consistently been among their callers.

She also noted that the financial strain caused by the pandemic has the potential to make bad environments even worse.

“Whatever was the stressor or the discord between the family, you now have compound trauma,” Young said.

Like Childhelp, The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, reported a steep increase in the number of youth and young adults who have reached out to its 24/7 hotline.

The New York-based nonprofit published a white paper last month outlining the “serious implications” the COVID-19 crisis could have on the mental health of LGBTQ youth. The organization cited the physical distancing, economic strain and increased anxiety related to the pandemic as being among the most worrisome problems.

“LGBTQ young people … are already at risk of discrimination and isolation, which can impact their mental health,” Amit Paley, the organization’s CEO, said last month in an interview with MSNBC. “For a lot of LGBTQ young people, the main sources of support that they get are at their schools, at clubs, at community centers, at physical spaces that they no longer have access to. … Not being able to connect with some of those really important, positive influences in your life can be extremely challenging for LGBTQ youth right now.”

‘An opportunity’ for parents

Two thirds of LGBTQ youth hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people, and only 1 in 4 feel like they can be themselves at home, according to data from the Human Rights Campaign.

“If you’re that kid, whether you’re 6 or 12 or 18, that changes dramatically how you feel in your own skin, how you can thrive or not in your family,” Kahn said.

.@HRC data shows that nearly half of all LGBTQ youth say their families make them feel bad for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Some face mental and physical abuse at home, while others have been kicked out. pic.twitter.com/wpA03JnSFz

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 17, 2020

Kahn encourages parents and family members, whether living with an LGBTQ young person or not, to consider their conversations and the environment that they’re creating.

“This is an opportunity to think about, ‘What kinds of conversations do I have with my kids at the kitchen table or my family that set the tone for what kind of home this would be for an LGBTQ kid,’” Kahn said.

Virtual resources

Kahn said she takes some comfort in the communities being developed on social media. Facebook support groups have formed for LGBTQ people coping through the quarantined life, and some YouTubers have been voices for self-care and acceptance.

Online support groups, webinars and crisis hotlines are just a handful of the ways organizations have begun to reach out virtually to LGBTQ youth.

The Trevor Project offers talk and text crisis hotlines, as well as TrevorSpace, an online community for LGBTQ young people aged 13-24. The LGBT National Help Center has a specific hotline for LGBTQ youth, as well as an online chatroom for those aged 19 and under. Trans Lifeline also offers hotlines in the U.S. and Canada for transgender individuals.

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GLAAD, one of the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, has compiled a list of resources on its website, as has Harvard Medical School, and for those looking for local organizations, CenterLink has a map of LGBTQ community centers across the country, many of which offer virtual services.

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