Sunday, March 29, 2020

Privilege In The Age Of COVID-19

I have privilege, I have a lot of privilege. I am white, was AMAB, and I am educated.

All of those add in my favor for surviving the plague. If you look though history you will find that it is true throughout history.
‘White-Collar Quarantine’ Over Virus Spotlights Class Divide
Child care options, internet access and extra living space leave a gulf between rich and poor in coping with disruptions to school and work.
The New York Times
By Noam Scheiber, Nelson D. Schwartz and Tiffany Hsu
March 27, 2020

For about $80,000, an individual can purchase a six-month plan with Private Health Management, which helps people with serious medical issues navigate the health care system.

Such a plan proved to be a literal lifesaver as the coronavirus pandemic descended. The firm has helped clients arrange tests in Los Angeles for the coronavirus and obtained oxygen concentrators for high-risk patients.
In some respects, the pandemic is an equalizer: It can afflict princes and paupers alike, and no one who hopes to stay healthy is exempt from the strictures of social distancing. But the American response to the virus is laying bare class divides that are often camouflaged — in access to health care, child care, education, living space, even internet bandwidth.
If you look at a map of the infection you will notice something… the virus is attacking high density populations.
Coronavirus COVID-19
The rural areas have very little exposure, they’re lacking the population density needed to sustain the spread of the virus.
Counties without coronavirus are mostly rural, poor
Associated Press By Morgan Lee and Nicky Forster
March 29, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As the coronavirus rages across the United States, mainly in large urban areas, more than a third of U.S. counties have yet to report a single positive test result for COVID-19 infections, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.

Data compiled by John Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Of the counties without positive tests, 85% are in rural areas — from predominantly white communities in Appalachia and the Great Plains to majority Hispanic and Native American stretches of the American Southwest — that generally have less everyday contact between people that can help transmit the virus.
When it comes to housing the suburbs and rural areas mostly are single family housing and in the city it is mostly multifamily housing. When I take out the garbage or get the mail I just walk down to the curb alone but in the city just getting the mail you have to walk down a common area.

The Times article list some other factors also determine the likelihood of getting the virus.
“This is a white-collar quarantine,” said Howard Barbanel, a Miami-based entrepreneur who owns a wine company. “Average working people are bagging and delivering goods, driving trucks, working for local government.”
Still, a kind of pandemic caste system is rapidly developing: the rich holed up in vacation properties; the middle class marooned at home with restless children; the working class on the front lines of the economy, stretched to the limit by the demands of work and parenting, if there is even work to be had.
Then there is also this…
Long before the new coronavirus, another kind of equalizer was being promoted: the internet. For decades, tech evangelists cited the democratizing power of the World Wide Web, which they said would bring high-quality services to strata of society that had previously gone without them.
Still, the technology that makes these services accessible remains out of reach for many Americans. While data on internet access is inexact, the most recent Federal Communications Commission figures, from 2017, showed that 30 percent of households did not have even a slow broadband connection.
I read that in Connecticut some of the internet providers open up their WiFi Hotspots to the public and in Hartford K-12 but if you are lucky to live in Hartford I heard that they are giving out Chromebooks to students.

Then there is food insecurity. Many students counted on the school lunch program for their main meal and now with the schools closed they finding it hard to get enough food. Some towns and cities are distributing the food to students at pickup points in various locations around the cities or towns.
In other cases, the rich aren’t going east or west, but down. Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S, a Texas maker of safe rooms and bunkers that range in price from $40,000 to several million dollars, said he had added a second shift of 15 workers to handle the flood of new orders, mostly for underground bunkers.
It give a different meaning to hunkering down… bunkering down.

Another inequality is health insurance, the have and have nots when it comes to health insurance is the difference between going bankrupt or not.

Most people get their health insurance through work and with the numbers of unemployed growing beyond sight they will no longer have health insurance when they need it the most. Even though they will have COBRA they will now have to pick up the insurance premiums and the “Catch 22” is that it comes at the time when they lost their job and cannot afford the premiums.

I will continue fighting for a living wage, universal health insurance, and our human rights.

I have privilege and I hope that I don’t abuse it.

Update 4/2/20 3:30 PM

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