by Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM
Pax Christi USA National Council
The effects of this pandemic in the United States are exacerbated by our inadequate safety net and social support system. Three major risk factors that make the coronavirus more deadly are old age, chronic health conditions and low socioeconomic status. As inequality has risen, health disparities have risen with low income persons more likely to have a chronic illness. Inequality in the US has increased, the cost of living has risen but salaries of low income workers have not risen as much, and part time work has increased. A low unemployment rate has not meant for many better wages or full time jobs with benefits such as affordable health care and paid sick days. A rising stock market doesn’t translate into better jobs. Low income workers are the ones least able to stay home but most often may lose jobs by closing restaurants and large conventions and sporting events. Even many middle class workers will be affected financially by closures of their workplaces.
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