How to Check Your Privilege During a Pandemic
Recognize that COVID-19 will hit the poor and the marginalized the hardest
As we watch coronavirus spread across the United States, many of us are trying to stay sensible but be prepared. We’re keeping up with the science and taking practical, yet effective, steps to help contain the spread of disease. And we’re telling ourselves we’re not living in a Michael Crichton novel — yet.
All of us should recognize, though, that COVID-19 will hit the poor and the marginalized the hardest. We already know the virus is much more severe for the elderly, with a greater likelihood of complications or fatality. And people who suffer from chronic illness are especially at risk.
For those of us who do not fall into those groups, and who do not have a compromised immune system, we have a responsibility to protect those who do. The first step is to admit our privilege.
For those who are not particularly afraid of COVID-19, or even those who test positive, but are young or have a strong immune system, please recognize that you could still be carrying the virus even if you never show symptoms. You could be spreading it to your most vulnerable neighbors, and potentially give them a death sentence without even knowing it.
Panic! At the Costco
How do you prepare for a disaster that leaves your city intact but destroys your way of life? Buy toilet paper.
This is not the time to panic. But you should be considerate enough to follow simple rules to prevent this disease from spreading. Wash your damn hands, stay home if you’re sick, and don’t break quarantine to go to a father-daughter dance or a Dartmouth Business School social event, no matter how much you’ve been looking forward to it.
Even if you have really good health insurance, that’s great for you, but plenty of people don’t. The number of uninsured Americans rose in 2018 for the first time in a decade, with some 27.5 million non-elderly people having no insurance at any point during the year. Among adults who were insured all year in 2018, 29% were underinsured, meaning the high deductibles and out-of-pocket…