Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll be aware that the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc across the world - and things only seem to be getting worse.
While many of us self-isolate, go into quarantine or generally "socially distance," homeless people are still left hugely vulnerable.
Now, one group of volunteers are trying to do their bit to help...
We are currently in the midst of a medical crisis.
via: Getty ImagesOriginating from the Chinese city of Wuhan, a deadly virus known as the coronavirus has been rapidly spreading across the globe.
So far, the symptoms have proven to be deadly.
via: GettyCoronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death.
A lot of people have now died from the virus...
via: Getty ImagesIt has been confirmed by Worldometer that 6,526 people have now died globally, with the majority being in mainland China. A further 171,027 have been found to carry the virus and be infected.
Things are only getting worse...
via: Getty ImagesAnd nearly every major country in the world has now been affected by the virus.
A global emergency has been declared.
via: Getty ImagesThe World Health Organization declared an emergency last month and called on all countries to take urgent measures to contain the respiratory disease.
It's safe to say that researchers are now getting desperate...
via: Getty ImagesAnd there is an immense amount of pressure on authorities to find a cure, and fast.
Because the virus continues to spread across the globe like wildfire...
via: Getty ImagesAnd it's showing no signs of slowing down.
As stated earlier, the coronavirus has infected numerous different countries now...
via: Getty ImagesAnd the United States is now one of them.
The number of cases here in America is rising...
via: Getty ImagesSo far, over 3,000 people have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus, and sixty-one have reportedly died.
And the disease is only expected to continue spreading...
via: Getty ImagesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a few weeks ago that it expects the coronavirus to spread in the United States and has asked Americans to prepare for when the virus hits, not if, CNN reported.
Preparations are underway...
via: Getty ImagesAnd hospitals across the country are bracing themselves for an influx of infected patients.
And for San Francisco, conditions have been deemed as too dire...
via: Getty ImagesAs they became the first U.S. city to declare an official state of emergency... Despite not having any confirmed cases of the virus.
Declaring an emergency enables the county to stock up on medical supplies and facilities...
via: Getty ImagesAnd allows nurses and doctors to prepare for a possible influx of patients.
And it seems that there is a reason for people to really start panicking.
via: Getty ImagesThe BBC reported on the 11th of March that the coronavirus has been officially confirmed by the WHO as a pandemic.
Yet, despite all of this...Our President has still been insisting that the coronavirus crisis is "under control".
President Trump has been heavily criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
via: GettyEven by Trump's standards - who has a nasty habit of denialism - this has been pretty shocking.
He has been alarmingly unconcerned about the whole thing...And, instead of addressing it and taking action like other world leaders, he has simply blamed the panic on the "Fake News Media" instead.
At one point, he even compared the pandemic to the common flu.And suggested that, because nowhere closed down over the flu, nowhere should close over the coronavirus.
Trump's downplaying of the situation has been rather embarrassing.
via: GettyAnd the President was again slammed for taking some time out last weekend to play golf, while the rest of the world went into lockdown.
The President has been repeatedly urged to declare a national emergency.
via: GettyDeclaring a national emergency will envoke the Stafford Act, which constitutes the statutory authority for most Federal disaster response activities.
The move will allow the government to marshal additional resources to combat the virus...
via: GettyAnd will open the door to more federal aid for states and municipalities.
Very few national emergencies have been declared in the past...
via: GettyAnd only 2 have targeted disease outbreaks, when President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared emergencies in New York and New Jersey in response to the West Nile Virus.
And, due to his infamous stubbornness...
via: GettyPeople haven't been feeling too confident with Trump's likelihood of actually declaring an emergency.
So, this weekend, it came as a rather pleasant surprise to hear that President Trump has officially declared a national emergency.
via: GettyIn a news conference in Washington, the President announced that the country is in an official state of emergency regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Better late than never...
But, there are still so many communities left hugely vulnerable.
via: ShutterstockEspecially homeless people, who already face enough challenges as it is.
But one group of volunteers are determined to do their bit to help...
via: GoFundMe/LHWTBased across the pond in London, the London Homeless Welfare Team is handing out "coronavirus packs" to those living on the streets.
Each pack costs around £1.50 ($1.84) to put together.
via: GoFundMe/LHWTAnd include items such as soaps, tissue packs, water bottles, and a leaflet containing the UK's National Health Service's (NHS) advice regarding the virus.
Co-founder of the team, Jorawar Singh Rathour, explained that he was "surprised" at what little had been done for homeless communities.
via: Facebook/LHWT"We recently initiated a project; distributing health packs for the homeless to help stop the spreading of Coronavirus. In these health packs contained information about how to protect yourself and included NHS advice on washing hands with symptoms of the virus. Also included: soaps, tissue packs and water bottles." He continued: "I believe that we are the first organisation to have done this exclusively for the homeless. Many people abroad travel through Finsbury Park (station and local area), which is why our team and I targeted this specific location."
Given that this is a self-funding project, the group has launched a GofundMe page.
via: Facebook/LHWTAnd so far have raised nearly £5000 ($6,142.77).
The money raised is now allowing the group to expand its distribution of the packs.
via: GoFundMe/LHWTPosting on Facebook, they said: "We wanted to say a MASSIVE HEART FELT THANK YOU to all that have supported us and are donating to help with our hand wash initiative helping to prevent the spread of Coronavirus amongst the homeless community." "We are now starting distributing across the UK. We will be covering the cost of shipping ourselves. This will ensure that all donations received will be used for making the packs and food & drink."
"We believe it's extremely important to get rough sleepers off the streets as they are more susceptible to infections and viruses. They are not able to self-isolate should they become infected."
via: GoFundMe/LHWT"We believe the council should take steps as we have done to initiate a programme to protect the homelessness community immediately." "Unfortunately, many homeless are being moved on by police enforcing a time ban on returning and this can potentially become a cause of spreading the virus."
The project has drawn in significant praise.
via: Facebook/LHWTWith many commending the volunteers "for helping some of the most forgotten people in society." We need more people like this in the world... Check out the group's fundraising page here.