US’s digital divide ‘is going to kill people’ as Covid-19 exposes inequalities

 The internet is key to accessing information about the coronavirus. Human Rights Watch says closing the digital divide was necessary to preserve human rights during the outbreak.
Guardian Design/The Guardian

Date Published: April 13, 2020

Source: The Guardian

Microsoft researchers have estimated 163 million Americans do not have access to the internet. M-Lab, an open source project, which monitors global internet performance, revealed that 62% of counties in the US do not have the government required download speed for broadband internet. Sascha Meinrath, a co-founder of M-lab, explains that “Now that people’s livelihoods, schools and lives are literally on the line, we can’t survive. These communities that are underserved are not going to be able to transition to an online workplace or school environment.” Access to the internet is also key to having information regarding COVID-19. Broadband access needs to be recognized as a social determinant of health, and “closing the digital divide is necessary to preserve human rights during the outbreak.”

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Summary by: Jayoti Rana