Viral Haves and Have Nots
The Spectator
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 by Jon Burras
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     As the Corona virus sweeps across the land we are increasingly alarmed at its devastation and impact on society. Many have become sick and many have died. There are food shortages, runs on toilet paper and fascial tissue and now a shortage of meat. Businesses have been forced to close and many workers have lost their jobs. For some those businesses might never open again.
    Without a doubt this is a major calamity on all fronts. In spite of it all we have seen heroic efforts by hospital staff, first responders and many volunteers. Communities are coming together and neighbors are helping each other out.
Despite these many acts of kindness I am still disturbed by one thing. Over and over again I keep hearing these words, "We are all in this together." An alarm bell goes off in me when I hear those words as I feel like I am being marketed to by another television soap commercial. A fancy jingle on the outside but not much substance on the inside. It is as if I am being sold a "Clapper" device or a "Chia Pet" during the Christmas holidays.
     To be clear, we are not all in this together. Let's not make that ignorant mistake. Some people are allowed to work while others are told to stay home without a paycheck. It seems that the government officials telling many of us to stay home are still receiving their regular paychecks. How ironic is that.
     Some people have plenty of savings while they can endure months of not working while still paying their bills. Others live essentially paycheck to paycheck and missing one paycheck creates havoc. Many people are more worried about losing their home, business or car than they are about catching the virus.
     Some school kids don't mind stay at home orders and home school education. Others might not have access to the internet or a viable computer in which to participate in home schooling. Kids who were in sports or already had a dress for the prom are suffering more as those events were all cancelled.
Blue collar workers experience far more hardships than do white collar workers. Personal trainers, manicurists, massage therapists, restaurant employees, yoga teachers, hair stylists and many others have had their worlds shattered. Cubicle workers who spend their day in front of a computer are more adept at taking their work home to do. It is much the same if you are working at home or in an office setting while sitting behind a computer. Most white collar jobs remain intact and the paychecks keep coming.
     Hard hit groups like African Americans are suffering the most among race-based groups. Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure play a major role in why more African Americans are dying than other groups. Not just lifestyle choices like diet and exercise but access to good health care is also a factor. Many people cannot afford good health care no matter what kind of crisis is happening.
     As the virus spreads through the third world we will see even more disparity in resources. Most Americans can still get places in their own car even though there is a crisis. In India for instance, the national railway system was shut down for weeks and workers were stranded wherever they ended up. Whatever money they had in their pockets at the time is all they could live on. A poor peasant farmer in Peru does not have the luxury of staying home to quarantine. He must tend to his crops and then sell the crops at the local farmer's market. There is no luxury of taking time off work to isolate.
     If you were in a plane crash you could say that everyone on the plane was in it together. Those in first-class suffered as much as those in coach. No matter what your gender, wealth, religion, age or skin color it would not matter. You were all in it together.
     The notion that we are all in this together wants us to feel connected. The reality is that there are "haves" and there are "have nots". Some people will get through this crisis without a scratch on them and with only a minor inconvenience. Others will succumb to it or it might take generations for their families to recoup their losses. Please stop saying that we are in this together because we are not.