Greta Thunberg Donates $100,000 to Combat Coronavirus As Activist Calls Pandemic a 'Child-rights Crisis'

Greta Thunberg has donated $100,000 to a campaign targeted at children affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, calling the pandemic a child-rights crisis.

The climate activist is working alongside Danish non-profit Human Act on a campaign to help UNICEF, launched Thursday. The goal is to protect young people from the primary and secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as violence, lost education and food shortages.

Money raised will be put towards soap, masks and other protective equipment, as well as towards providing life-saving information and support to healthcare systems.

Thunberg launched the campaign by donating the prize money she received from Human Act for her climate activism, contributing $100,000 to the cause. Human Act has matched the donation.

"Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis," Thunberg said in a statement. "It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most."

She added: "I'm asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF's vital work to save children's lives, to protect health and continue education."

Swedish environmental activist on climate change Greta Thunberg
Swedish environmental activist on climate change Greta Thunberg talking to media in Brussels, Belgium, on March 5, 2020. Thunberg, best known for her climate activism, has launched a campaign with Human Act to help children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thierry Monasse/Getty

There have been instances of hospitalizations and deaths of people under 18, showing young people are not automatically spared the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Yet children and young people appear to be more likely to develop milder reactions than older generations.

But while children may be less susceptible to the physical health issues of COVID-19, a report from the United Nations published earlier this month said they could be among the biggest victims of the pandemic.

Experts have warned children across the world are feeling the secondary impacts of the virus, particularly in terms of its social and economic consequences and the repurcussions of mitigation measures, such as social distancing. Refugee children and those living in the poorest communities are expected to be the worst hit.

Some striking findings published in the report include an estimate that between 42 and 66 million children are at risk of falling into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic. The knock-on economic effects of the outbreak could result in hundreds of thousands of more child deaths by the end of 2020, erasing two to three years of progress in this area in a year. Measles immunization campaigns have been suspended in several countries, placing children at risk of a preventable disease that has been on the rise in recent years.

The report also highlights the predicament of children in volatile home situations, where they may not have access to proper meals or could be vulnerable to domestic abuse, as well as the problem of school closures, which affects more than 1.5 billion children worldwide.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore described the pandemic as "the greatest struggle the world has seen in generations."

Fore explained: "Children and young people are among the most severely impacted by the knock-on effects of COVID-19, so it is only natural that they would want to do something about it.

"Through her activism, Greta Thunberg has proven that young people are ready to take a stand and lead change in the world. UNICEF is very pleased that Greta and her supporters have not only chosen to take a stand against this pandemic, but to do so in partnership with UNICEF."

The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

Coronavirus COVID-19 United States Statista
Number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.