Jennifer Brady (episode page) is the Executive Director of Oasis, a non-profit helping women, teens and children rise out of poverty in the greater Paterson, NJ area. Among the many, many things that are concerning about COVID-19, I think the most underrated is how this pandemic will afflict the poor. Jen and I cover a lot of ground in 30 mins, including:
- How has the ‘COVID lockdown’ affected the working (now not working!) poor?
- How able is this population to comply with CDC-recommended social distancing and other prevention practices?
- What might be the social and political ramifications of substantial infections among the poor?
Think about huge groups of people that are predominantly first generation immigrants with poor English skills, highly concentrated in multi-generational homes (including the elderly and little children) and with high incidence of pre-existing health conditions. I can’t imagine a higher risk population.
What do politics look like when huge swathes of already marginalized people come down with a highly communicable disease that the richer parts of society overcome? And by politics I mean the potentially very ugly post-COVID politics where progressivism is dead?
Dark stuff, of course. The response Jen and the staff at Oasis are seeing so far is encouraging but there is a version of the future where when it turns worse when nobody is looking.