Covid-19 Further Exposed Inequality, Need for Big Systemic Change

Covid-19 has taken the lives of over 400,000 Americans and millions have experienced job loss in the past year. In the time of quarantine and workers placed in the frontline as essential, the pandemic has further exposed inequality, the cracks in our society, and the need for systemic change. Because of this, ideas previously viewed by the mainstream as out of the realm of possibility are now important and considered desirable, even by politicians. 

The current healthcare system has proven to be insufficient, as many either didn’t have it to begin with or lost it when they lost their jobs, which made Covid testing and treatment harder to come by. Now, a lack of centralized healthcare has accentuated the strain of the vaccine rollout. 

Changes are also on the horizon to bring forth an increased minimum wage and protections for low-wage earners, who already experienced financial volatility prior to the pandemic and were then thrust into the frontlines and spotlight quickly in the past year. 

The fight to get stimulus checks has brought the idea of a universal basic income further into the light. While other countries sent out consistent stimulus checks to citizens to prevent economic downturn and saw positive results, the U.S. did not replicate this model and has struggled to both contain the virus and sustain the economy. 

It’s more crucial than ever to tackle these issues, which were already present, but amplified when Covid-19 began to spread. A first stimulus package was passed for $1,200 and a second for only half — $600. A third is now on the table. With the new administration’s pandemic response team and vaccines approved and in distribution, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.