It goes without saying that America at large was unprepared for the coronavirus outbreak. Many dismissed it as “just a flu” in its early stages, and are now reneging on that assertion. People are dying in alarming numbers and they are increasing.
More people than ever are scared to leave the house, in fear of being next. However, wouldn’t it present a problem if you had to leave the house, for work or anything else? Wouldn’t it present a problem if your main source of income for paying rent was a low-income job that you can’t afford to lose, thus exposing you to many people with no way of knowing if they’re infected or not? This isn’t just some hypothetical, it’s the reality for many people in the United States.
Many people are saying that the entire virus debacle is demonstrative of a lot of larger problems with different American systems. It puts these systems under a magnifying glass, allowing everyone to see the potential failings of the federal or state governments that people put their trust into. Time magazine says it has “highlighted the deficits within the U.S.’s fragile social safety net.”
Obviously, there’s the immediate problem of not being able to make money if your low-income job shuts down; that’s a given. But from that problem, many smaller ones begin to splinter, as people with lower income already are more likely to not be medically insured, according to Time magazine. This means that if those people get sick, the financial loss from the hospital bills presents a large roadblock for those people. This is another problem with the federal health care system, one that could be solved through universal health care.
Citizens in Canada, for example, don’t have to worry if they get injured in a way that isn’t their fault, as their treatment is paid for by the federal government. It’s not like the United States federal government doesn’t have the money, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve plans to put $1.5 trillion into Wall Street, so as to not “disrupt” the market. The money is there, they just don’t want to give it up.
It should also be noted that low-income neighborhoods haven’t had as much access to tests for the virus, according to Buzzfeed News. In the same article, it’s stated that in some densely populated areas like New York City people have been urged to NOT get tested.