Americans Facing the Pandemic Without Water
April 18, 2020 | Coronavirus
Americans from every state are being told to shelter in place to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citizens are being told to stay at least 6 feet from everyone else, to stay home as much as possible, wear masks when they have to go in public, and wash their hands many, many times a day.
Of all of the suggested ways to protect themselves from the Coronavirus, people are advised that washing your hands is the most important.
But what about those people who do not have clean water to wash with?
Americans living in Flint, Michigan have been dealing with a water crisis since 2014, when the city’s water source changed from the treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River.
According to one source, officials did not apply corrosion inhibitors to the new water and lead from the old pipes leached into the city’s water supply.
Over a hundred thousand people were exposed to the poisoned water, and in 2016, the governor declared a state of emergency in the city.
Soon after, a federal state of emergency was declared by then-President Obama.
As many as 12,000 children were exposed to the lead-tainted water, and an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease killed 12 people and sickened another 87 of Flint’s citizens.
As of April 2019, there were still as many as 2500 lead service lines in place in the city.
Those old lines were expected to be replaced by this Summer, but then the Coronavirus pandemic struck.
Because of the danger of this tragedy, Nestle Waters has been donating bottled water to those Flint, Michigan citizens who are in need.
That will help with the drinking water supply, but what about water to wash their hands?
In the meantime, cities in various states have citizens who have either had their water shut off before the COVID-19 pandemic or have had it turned off during the crisis.
Although authorities have suggested that companies refrain from turning off utilities during this time, some companies have been doing so anyway.
For some low-income people, water had already been turned off.
That means that even if their city has ceased with water shutoffs, these citizens still have none.
While it is not clear just how many Americans are without water during this pandemic, it is clear that thousands of homes had their water disconnected in Detroit alone.
Estimates claim that as many as several million Americans are facing this global crisis with no way to clean themselves or keep their homes sanitized and clean.
Utility companies have been strict about shutting off the water to anyone’s home who could not pay their bill, despite many protests calling for a program to base the cost of running water in the home on the income of the people living there.
With the national rates for water increasing by three times the rate of inflation over the last few years, it has become difficult or impossible for some low-income households to keep water connected.
Now, those citizens are being told to stay home, where there is no water to drink or clean with.
Water is very important to guarding people against infections and stopping the spread of viruses and bacteria.
Water is also needed to cook healthy meals, and even to mix some medications and baby formulas.
Aside from air, water is the next vital element to the survival of a human being.
It is often said that a person can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.
It is a basic human need, and yet access to it is denied to millions of people who simply cannot afford to pay the amount that is determined by the utility companies.
While many places have been ordered not to disconnect the water during this outbreak, that does not help the ones who already did not have water before it began.
An even scarier realization is that if a household cannot be protected from this outbreak by hand washing and cleaning, the odds are much greater that someone in the house will catch this virus.
Now, more than ever, this household will need water to wash hands, sanitize, clean, regulate the temperature of the infected, stay hydrated, and more.
Without running water, there is very little chance that anyone in the home will avoid catching the virus, and odds are unfortunately high that some or all living in the home could lose their lives to this pandemic… all because they did not have water.
And yet out of the hundreds of municipalities that are promising to cease future water shut-off during this pandemic, only 44 have agreed to reconnect the water to homes where it was already shut off.
And in those cities where water will be restored, it could take weeks before the water is back on.
In the meantime, American citizens are being forced to use cases of water to bathe.
Homes in which several children reside will have to share a tub full of water for everyone.
The water is heated in pots, transferred by the potful to the tub, and the family takes turns bathing in that same water.
In other cases, a pot of water will be used to boil pasta for dinner, then the same water is used to wash the dishes, and then recycled one more time to flush the toilet.
Once again, we are talking about America… not a third-world country.
As one advocate said, “It should not have taken a pandemic to get them to realize that maybe no water in people’s houses is a public health issue.”
Many believe that humans should not be denied something that is absolutely needed for survival just because of their financial status.
If you are living without water in the United States of America, don’t hesitate to call an attorney who specializes in crisis litigation.
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