This deadly disease is on the rise again. Here’s what you should know

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More than $9 billion was pumped into the research and development of Covid-19 vaccines in 2020, the biggest injection of cash ever raised for a disease’s R&D in such a short space of time.

 

But what of the other infectious diseases that existed (and killed) long before? Our chart takes a look at what the R&D landscape looked like for the “big three” killers, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, versus the comparatively ‘neglected diseases’ in the first year of the pandemic.

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Infographic: Has the World Forgotten About Malaria? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

According to research by Policy Curesmalaria was responsible for 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2020, marking a 12 percent increase from the year before. While that’s only a fraction of the 3.3 million people killed by Covid that year, the R&D funding was still comparatively low, at only $619 million in contrast to Corona’s $9 billion.

 

Research for hepatitis B fared worse still, with only $18 million in funding, despite killing some 900,000 people. Those disparities can at least in part be explained by the scale of its perceived “burden on society”, and whether or not the disease has been “politicized” in the eye of the public through media coverage, according to Vox.

 

Calls have been made for more funding to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, as efforts to eliminate them were hampered through the Covid period.

 

According to the UN, between 2019 and 2020, “moderate disruptions in the delivery of malaria services contributed to 14 million malaria cases and 69,000 deaths.” This included disruptions in the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, with only 58 percent of countries completing their planned campaigns in 2020, as well as in diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.

 

This article originally appeared on Statista.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Is COVID-19 going to ruin your credit?

 

According to data recently collected by TransUnion, many are still weathering a brutal financial storm thanks to COVID-19. Of the 58% who report being financially impacted, 70% are concerned about their ability to pay current bills and expect to be unable to pay them within the next 5.6 weeks, on average. With numbers that staggering, will COVID-19 make credit scores crumble?

Not necessarily. While the true impact remains to be seen, there are a few proactive steps that can be taken to potentially lessen the blow.

Here are a few you may want to consider.

 

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In order to see the full picture of how your credit has been impacted by COVID-19, it’s important to keep an eye on both your credit report and credit score. Your credit scores — of which you have several — are directly impacted by what is on your credit reports. Each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — provide these reports. They each operate independently and may receive different information from different creditors. For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on all three credit reports.

While you are normally entitled to one free credit report annually from each CRA at AnnualCreditReport.com, between now and April 2021 you can receive all three reports weekly.

 

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CRAs manage the credit profiles of millions of consumers, so there is always a chance the information in your credit report isn’t accurate or complete. The good news is, you are able to dispute any incorrect information you find.

 

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If you’ve spoken to your lenders or creditors about needing financial assistance, you’ve likely heard the term forbearance or deferment. In practice , forbearance and deferment  generally result in your payments being temporarily suspended until a later date —  although typically deferment also pauses interest accrual, while forbearance usually does not. However, these terms are often used interchangeably and your terms may be different.

Make sure you fully understand the terms of any agreement you enter into with a lender or creditor. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • How long will my payments be paused for?
  • Do I have the option to extend the forbearance or deferment period?
  • Will interest continue to accrue while my payments are paused?

 

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Forbearance or deferment can be extremely helpful if you’re struggling financially. However, it’s important to note the payments you don’t make during this time are generally not just forgiven — they typically must be made up in some way or another.

For instance, if your mortgage is federally backed (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA loans), under the CARES Act you may have a few different options for repaying the amount owed:

  • You should be given 6-12 months to repay the number of payments you missed (depending on the type of loan).
  • The length of your mortgage can be extended by the number of months you were in forbearance.
  • You may be required to repay the number of payments missed in one lump sum when you pay off the original loan.

[See more potential options depending on the type of federally backed loan you have here.]

Whether you have a privately held mortgage, or another type of loan or form of credit you’ve put into forbearance or deferment, it’s important to understand what your options are for repayment and what you qualify for (not everyone qualifies for the same options). Otherwise, you could be blindsided when you least expect it.

 

 

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Are you experiencing the financial impact of a job loss, drop in income, or medical issues? You may want to explain this in a 100-word statement and add it to your credit reports. Known as a “consumer statement,” this can add context to potentially negative marks on your report and may allow for a bigger conversation with future lenders and creditors.

According to Experian, there are two types of statements you can provide:

  • Account-specific statements to explain negative reporting for one account.
  • General statements to explain why there are negative reports for multiple accounts over a certain period of time (due to extended unemployment, for example).

If you want this statement added to each of your credit reports, you will need to send it directly to each CRA. Learn more from EquifaxExperian and TransUnion.

 

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In times of crisis, scammers tend to come out in full force — and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. According to the FTC, between January 1 and April 15 there have been over 18,000 complaints related to COVID-19 scams, resulting in the loss of $13.44 million.

One way you can protect your credit from identity theft is to put a credit freeze in place. This should help you restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. It does not prevent a thief from gaining access to or making charges to existing accounts, however.

This is a free tool, but remember — you may also be blocked from applying for new credit until you take the steps to lift the freeze. So if you know you will need to access your credit soon, this may not be the best option for you.

 

 

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If you’re having trouble keeping up with your financial obligations, you certainly aren’t the only one. Many creditors and lenders are willing to help, but it’s important to have a conversation before a payment is missed or past due. If you are already in a forbearance or deferment program but need additional assistance, see if your creditor or lender will allow an extension.

It’s important to note, while there are credit reporting protections under the CARES Act, these may not apply if your account is already in default.

 

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Some student loan borrowers receiving temporary loan relief under the CARES Act recently discovered their accounts had been reported as delinquent by their lender. While these lenders may be working to right the situation, it sheds light on the importance of monitoring your credit and understanding which protections you’re entitled to under the CARES Act. You can read more here.

 

 

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COVID-19 has turned plenty of things upside down, but your credit doesn’t have to be one of them. Stay ahead of the game by monitoring your credit reports, disputing incorrect information and contacting your lenders and creditors as your financial situation changes.

This article originally appeared on UpturnCredit.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: gorodenkoff / iStock.

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