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Detail of photograph taken in Milan Central Railway Station on March 8, 2020
Detail of photograph taken in Milan Central Railway Station on March 8, 2020
Daniele Mascolo / Xinhua / ZUMA Wire

It's a bittersweet scene captured at Milan's Central Railway Station, at the global epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis.

With more than 800 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus and 12,000 infected in Italy, the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Milan, is by far the hardest hit, with 617 deaths as of Thursday.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended a severe lockdown to the entire country, with all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars being ordered to close, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies, until March 25.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty, this photograph recalls Gabriel García Márquez" epic 1985 novel Love in the Time of Cholera. In one form or another, this current "plague" will find its place in the annals of literature.

Milano Love in the Time of Coronavirus © Daniele Mascolo / Xinhua / ZUMA Wire


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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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