The coronavirus has made the flaws in our society clear as day


Photo taken from Wikipedia.

Picture taken at a rally in Ohio where people gathered to protest the coronavirus and social distancing regulations.

Seymone Russell, Editor

Over the past couple of months, the coronavirus has been the topic of every conversation. Whether it is complaining about quarantine, the annoying masks we have to wear every time we step outside, or the way people are flooding the grocery stores making necessary supplies scarce, we are all focused on how COVID-19 is affecting our lives. We are all being affected by the pandemic but some groups in society that have previously faced struggle and discrimination on an everyday basis are now being disproportionately affected by the virus. Although we are all staying home, at least I hope we are (apart from essential workers), it is now clearer than ever how society is structured against certain people. 

Low-income groups are one of the biggest groups suffering from the effects of the coronavirus.  These groups are more likely to live in communities that have denser populations due to housing prices. Living in close contact with others forces people to ignore the rules of “social distancing”. The whole idea of quarantining works against lower-income groups. They can not afford to stock up on food, toilet paper, or other necessary supplies. In their close communities, there are fewer supermarkets and more convenient stores which makes gathering supplies harder. These groups often end up being more exposed to the coronavirus due to the limited number of paid sick days their jobs give. They do not have the option of simply staying home to prevent the spread of the disease. Not going to work would mean getting fired which would leave them no money to support their families or themselves. If the government is going to ask people to stay home, which is a good decision that benefits the country as a whole, they should provide the finances that will allow them to make it through this time. 

It is harder to get tested for the virus by low-income groups. Many people do not have access to healthcare and can not afford the medical bills that come with a trip to the hospital. According to Time magazine, “28.6 million people across the U.S. are not covered by any form of insurance at all.” People are so scared of medical bills that they would rather take the chance of having the virus instead of getting the doctor’s diagnosis. This is a sign that the healthcare system needs to change and fast.

The people in these poorer communities tend to be minorities. People of color are disproportionately in lower-wage communities due to years of systemic racism and housing segregation. I think that people are so quick to judge minorities living in poorer communities but what they don’t realize is that the American system is against them in many ways. Minorities have been set back by generations due to discrimination and blatant racism. According to, “People of color are disproportionately in low-wage occupations because of a long history of discrimination and systemic bias that limited who had access to education and wealth-building opportunities.” Minorities have higher rates of chronic conditions and toxic stress due to racism and systemic inequalities which makes them less likely to recover from COVID-19. I don’t think people realize how much racism really affects minorities. Even if we don’t personally experience racism ourselves, the sight of it can cause trauma and additional stress in our lives. It can even lead to health problems and earlier mortality rates. I may not suffer from extreme racism on an everyday basis but knowing that it is prevalent in this current century and feeling the pain of other minorities is enough for it to affect my life. 

There has been a historical legacy of mistrust of healthcare by African Americans and historical lack of access by many minority groups. talks about how many doctors today have racial biases that affect the way they deal with patients that are minorities. To this day, many white doctors believe that African American patients feel less pain than white patients. It is ludicrous that people in 2020 still believe this and it shows that the educational system also fosters racial bias. There is no way that people who believe this should be getting degrees. This adds to the broken trust that African Americans have with doctors and the healthcare system as a whole. Do you know how hard it is not to trust the people that society teaches us at a young age are the people that are supposed to save us and take care of us? Not only does it do this, but it also shows how the system is designed to keep minorities from succeeding in life. 

Another group suffering from the effects of the virus is the incarcerated. Due to the mass incarceration in the United States, the jails are overcrowded. Prisoners are in close proximity to each other and often end up touching supplies that have been used by many other prisoners. In jail, there is no option for social distance. The cells are unsanitary and are rarely cleaned. Not only will this affect the prisoners but it will also cause the virus to spread to the guards. When the prisoners do get the coronavirus, they are not guaranteed access to doctors. If they do get medical attention, it is not the proper attention that addresses their current state. The Equal Justice Initiative states that “nationwide, the known infection rate for Covid-19 in jails and prisons is about 2½ times higher than in the general population.” Many people ignore these facts due to the tainted image of people in jail. 

I have already touched on minorities, but Asian Americans have been specifically targeted throughout our journey with the Coronavirus. Ever since the news of the virus originating in China dropped, people have been blatantly disrespectful towards Asians. From using clothing to cover their face when on the train next to Asians to refusing to give an Asian man attention when suffering from a heart attack due to their fear of attracting the virus, people have made special efforts to stay clear of Asian Americans. It has even gotten to the point of Asian Americans being afraid of possibly being harassed or attacked due to the fear of others. This is not only irrational but is just straight up ignorant. First of all, most of the Asians that people have been steering clear of are not even from China. This just shows how Americans group people who do not look stereotypically “American” together. The Asians that are from China have often not visited China in years. Some were born in America and have not been to China at all. I wish that I could say that these occurrences have only been around since the news of the Coronavirus but I can not. 

The United States has a history of being particularly discriminatory towards Asians. I believe that this discrimination has led to racial bias that is still very much prevalent today. The actions against Asian Americans during the coronavirus may be extreme but they only reflect what people have been feeling inside for years. It is only a reflection of how this country still mistreats people of Asian descent to this day. People calling the virus the “Chinese Virus” are only adding fuel to the fire. Saying that this is only a label to represent where the virus originated from is manipulatory. There have been plenty of diseases in the past that did not result in whole countries being blamed and mocked. This encourages xenophobia within our society. People are already scared of the effects of the coronavirus. Reinforcing that the virus originated from China will only result in racial bias and ignorance.  We all know that the United States has not always been the kindest to countries that consist of people other than Europeans. 

These examples are only a small number of ways society works against minorities and the lower class. Many of us are privileged and I think the global pandemic has opened our eyes to the struggles that people face on an everyday basis in America. It is funny how some people feel as though they are facing discrimination now by not being allowed to go back to normal their routine but do not even realize that minorities have been facing much more discrimination than not being allowed to get a haircut for generations upon generations.