The COVID-19 pandemic is a societal earthquake across our nation. This “invisible enemy” will expose an even deadlier “visible enemy” – which has been rooted in our communities for far too long.
That enemy is the pandemic of poverty.
The “pandemic of poverty” is not a temporary disaster and doesn’t let those who suffer catch their breath. On the contrary, poverty multiplies the chances of catching the disease and then multiplies the negative impact caused.
These families are not annoyed at missing their routine health or dental checks — they don’t have insurance to pay for those luxuries. They’re confronted by a reality of needing health care and being unable to access it. Many may have the virus but lack the resources to seek treatment.
Most people living in poverty are not having conversations about shutting down their businesses – they’d never even qualify for a bank loan. Far too many are not dealing with the loss of a job they love, since it’s hard to lose what you never had. The fortunate ones are working the low-paying jobs we rely on, that put them at a high risk to contract the virus. While we navigate the pandemic challenges, let those of us not living in poverty consider our privilege.
We are battling a physical virus which is deadly, but we believe to be temporary. Let’s remember our neighbors who live in the fear and hopelessness of a socioeconomic pandemic called poverty.
Op-ed published by the Tampa Bay Times.