social justice & covid-19

The injustices built into many of our society's systems have been obvious to many of us for a while. But the current pandemic has highlighted many of them in very stark relief, including:

- Stigma and xenophobia

- Access to affordable, quality healthcare

- Economic impact on hourly workers, the poor, and fixed-income households.

"Whenever there’s some kind of major incident with global or regional implications, and as soon as you can identify it in relation to some racial ‘other,’ particularly in predominantly white, multi-ethnic societies like England or the U.S., I think it’s very easy for people to use a very small excuse to start scapegoating on the basis of their appearance.” As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Racism, Time

We asked our listeners whether they had experienced this kind of coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia firsthand. And judging by the volume of emails, comments and tweets we got in response, the harassment has been intense for Asian Americans across the country — regardless of ethnicity, location or age. When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus, NPR

One way to address [inequities in the healthcare system] is to make testing and treatment for COVID-19 free and available to everyone, “especially the folks that are most likely to be uninsured or the people that have intimate contact with all of us — home care workers, taxi drivers, livery drivers, food handlers, restaurant workers, child-care givers... Everyone’s health depends on that, not just theirs, everyone’s.” COVID-19 response complicated by inequities in health insurance, sick leave, Marketplace

If any of the 28 million people without insurance develop symptoms and get coronavirus tests, they could face medical bills that could push them further into poverty... The result is that people with symptoms are reluctant to get tested. In surveys prior to the outbreak, around a quarter to a half of those who have health insurance say they’ve avoided seeing a health provider when they have symptoms through fear of medical expenses. Why Coronavirus Testing Should Be Free For All Americans, Time

"Since I can’t afford to see a doctor, my healthcare strategy as a 32-year-old uninsured American has been simply to sleep eight hours, eat vegetables, and get daily exercise. But now that there are confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, the deadly virus could spread rapidly, thanks to others like me who have no feasible way to get the care we need if we start exhibiting symptoms." Millions of uninsured Americans like me are a coronavirus timebomb, The Guardian

Read the many media reports and a common line comes out: “Most people recover, and fatalities are largely only among those with underlying health conditions.” It is a sentiment I have heard constantly in recent days, supposedly as a form of reassurance. It’s understandable: facts are vital to establish in a climate where myths can spread as quickly as the virus, and the World Health Organization has made it clear that younger and healthy people are much less vulnerable to serious harm. But it does raise the question: what about the rest of us? Coronavirus hits ill and disabled people hardest, so why is society writing us off?, The Guardian

The on-going moral crisis of poverty in this country means half of us do not have the resources to essentially pre-pay two weeks’ worth of our basic living expenses. According to an audit we conducted in partnership with the Institute for Policy Studies, 140 million Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency. For 43% of the U.S. population, the call to be prepared is like asking a sky-diver to get ready to jump from a plane without a parachute. The particular peril of coronavirus for poor people — and then everyone else, Arkansas Times

While employees of companies like Twitter are being encouraged to work from home to protect themselves from the virus, known as COVID-19, people... whose jobs depend on in-person interaction feel more exposed than ever. In this way, the spread of the coronavirus exposes a widening chasm in the U.S. economy between college-educated workers, whose jobs can be done from anywhere on a computer, and less-educated workers who increasingly find themselves in jobs that require human contact. 'If We Don't Work, We Don't Get Paid.' How the Coronavirus Is Exposing Inequality Among America's Workers, Time

Images from "What to Do in a Pandemic - Our Cousins Know," by Ricardo Levins Morales. 

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