Graphic by Marco Pérez Lorente
Quarantine has left many to choose between risking their health and their families health, or risking their homes and the ability to put food on the table.
Coronavirus has put families in poverty in a whole new level of risk through shelter-in-place. Due to the restrictions for employees, many have found themselves out of a job, being denied unemployment, and lacking a source of income. For families in a deeper state of poverty, parents are more likely to take jobs that put them at their families at risk. According to worldbank.org, “COVID-19 is likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998. With the new forecasts, global poverty—the share of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 per day—is projected to increase from 8.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020, or from 632 million people to 665 million people.” Along with the current levels of poverty, COVID-19 will continue to push millions of Americans into poverty because the lack of employment greatly affects families already struggling to get by. The UN has projected 47 million US citizens will lose their jobs through the summer.
This leaves many without income and stability. Families that do need to provide for children and other household members will struggle even with the stimulus packages. However, income isn’t the only concern. According to news.un.gov “They [those living in poverty] are more likely to work in jobs with a high risk of exposure, live in crowded and insecure housing, reside in neighborhoods that are more vulnerable because of air pollution, and lack access to healthcare”. President Trump and his executives have passed more legislation that negatively impacts poor populations, leaving more worry about how they will/if they will help poor people today. This increase in poverty levels has been compared to an economic crash and even a recession by multiple news outlets. The United Nations Stated, “The global financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could see economic output plummet by $8.5 trillion over the next two years and push more than 34 million people into extreme poverty.”
Regardless of government position and our current economy “The balance between saving lives and saving jobs is as difficult as it is necessary to strike”(voanews.com).