Hard Numbers: Water woes, COVID fatigue in Hong Kong, Ukrainians come and go, Beckham’s Instagram followers visit Kharkiv, Russian death toll

Hard Numbers: Water woes, COVID fatigue in Hong Kong, Ukrainians come and go, Beckham’s Instagram followers visit Kharkiv, Russian death toll

A woman drinks water in El Crucero town, Nicaragua.

REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

2.2 billion: Three decades since the UN declared March 22 World Water Day to raise awareness about conservation efforts and the need for access to clean water, 2.2 billion people — almost a third of the global population — lack access to safe drinking water.


71.5 million: Soccer great David Beckham is the latest celeb to weigh into the Ukraine crisis, giving access to his Instagram account, with its 71.5 million followers, to a Kharkiv-based doctor. Using Instagram stories, the doctor, a pediatric anesthesiologist, showed the harsh conditions faced by pregnant women, new moms, and newborns in the war-torn city.

320,000: More than 320,000 Ukrainian citizens living abroad — mostly men — have returned home to help fight since the fighting began, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine says. Meanwhile, some 10 million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes, with some 3.5 million fleeing the country and another 6.5 million internally displaced by the violence.

125,000: Hong Kong will begin to ease COVID restrictions from April 1, shortening quarantine times for travelers and allowing schools to resume in-person classes. The zero-COVID policy enforced by the city — a commercial hub — has led to around 125,000 people leaving since the beginning of February.

9,861: Was it a leak? A mistake? A hack? Whatever it was, a well-connected Russian tabloid said Monday that the official death toll for Russian soldiers in Ukraine is 9,861. The webpage was swiftly taken down, but if the four-week number is true, it would surpass all US combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined and be the largest combat loss for the Kremlin since the decade-long Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
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