CORONAVIRUS EDGE OF EMERGENCY

Almost as soon as reports began circulating earlier this year that a new coronavirus-linked respiratory illness was spreading from China, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health thought of the refugees living in Bangladesh. In the district of Cox's Bazar, nearly 1 million religious and ethnic minorities from Myanmar called the Rohingya live in refugee camps, with the majority—roughly 600,000—residing in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site. At about 5 square miles, it is the world's largest refugee camp and one of the most densely populated places on the planet.

"A pandemic is particularly worrying, but really any type of disease transmission is concerning when it comes to refugees living in camps because they are often living in high density and with poor water and sanitation," says Paul Spiegel, director of the center and a professor of the practice in the Department of International Healthin the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We know from past experience that it's very common for epidemics to transmit easily in these settings."


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