October 30, 2020

Population reaches 7 billion

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — She came into the world at two minutes before midnight, a tiny, wrinkled girl born into a struggling Manila family. Yesterday, she became a symbol of the world’s population reaching 7 billion people and all the worries that entails for the planet’s future.

Danica May Camacho, born in a crowded public hospital, was welcomed with a chocolate cake marked “7B Philippines” and a gift certificate for free shoes. There were bursts of photographers’ flashes, and speeches by local officials.

The celebrations, though, reflected symbolism more than demography.

Amid the millions of births and deaths around the world each day, it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the globe’s 7 billionth occupant. But the U.N. chose Monday to mark the day with a string of festivities worldwide, and a series of symbolic 7 billionth babies being born.

Danica was the first, arriving at Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital at two minutes before midnight Sunday — but doctors say that was close enough to count for a Monday birthday.

“She looks so lovely,” the mother, Camille Galura, whispered as she cradled the 5-pound, 8-ounce (2.5-kilogram) baby, who was born about a month premature.

The baby was the second for Galura and her partner, Florante Camacho, a driver who supports the family on a tiny salary driving a ‘jeepney,’ a ubiquitous jeep-like bus used by many poor and working-class Filipinos.

Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines’ Department of Health said the birth came with a warning.

“Seven billion is a number we should think about deeply,” he said.

“We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child,” he said. “If the answer is ‘no,’ it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion.”

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