The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the grim and disturbing injustices and inequalities that have always existed in our health care, our economy and our government. While the virus does not discriminate, our human-made systems and structures do. And in the United States, that means those who feel the impact of this disease the most are those who have been historically, structurally, systemically and politically marginalized and oppressed.
By exposing these injustices, the COVID-19 pandemic must lead us to reflect individually and collectively on the fragility of our society and the world and to commit ourselves, with renewed vigor, to remedying these injustices and working for a better future. fair, equitable and inclusive. – one who elevates the dignity given by God to all peoples.
Overall, it is both a health crisis and an economic crisis. In the United States, we are faced with an additional reality which, due to our deeply broken health care system, is a health crisis. is already an economic crisis for many people in America. As we move further and further into this health crisis, the economic impacts are being felt by more and more people. Millions of people do essential work and millions more are people for whom work is essential. Millions of people are caught in the trap of wanting to maintain their physical health while needing to maintain their financial health.
This crisis has exposed an economy that is set up to benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense and exploitation of millions of low-income and middle-class people for whom decades of free market, economic policy trickle down. left with a growing cost of unbearable, limited or no wages, little job security and without the adequate support of a woefully underfunded safety net to provide essential support in the form of unemployment benefits, food security, affordable health care and housing, debt relief and overall increased financial security in the event of job loss or income.
All of this was true long before the emergence of COVID-19. But the challenges that low- and middle-income Americans previously faced are now compounded by the health and financial challenges caused by COVID-19. And while the health and financial security of all Americans are now in question, the financial health of many Americans has always been in question. During the last years :
- 80 percent of workers report living from paycheck to paycheck.
- 53 percent of American households have no emergency savings.
- Only 58% of Americans have a retirement account, the same as 10 years ago.
- More than 50 percent of American households cannot afford an unforeseen expense of $ 500.
- 27 percent of Americans postponed or postponed health care because of its cost.
- Almost 25 percent of Americans have overdue medical bills.
- 37 million workers do not have access to paid sick leave.
- The average American household owes $ 29,800 in consumer debt (not counting mortgages).
This pandemic must force us to look at everything in a new way – realizing that we will never, nor should, ever go back to ânormalâ. Normal was not working. Indeed, the normal was not supposed to work for millions of people. This pandemic has already forced us all to change; now we must find ways to change our country and our world to be more equitable and just.