We live in unprecedented times.
While the COVID19 (also known as Corona) virus is nonlethal except to those with immune system deficiencies and those prone to respiratory infections and illnesses, this pandemic is changing our society in ways only seen during wartime and national disasters.
Schools, from elementary to post secondary levels, are closed. So are restaurants, movie theatres, places of worship, and concert halls.
Community programs and services that benefit new arrivals and the poor are cancelled.
Companies are asking, if not ordering, their employees to work from home.
Shopping mall hours are being reduced.
It’s like something out of a Hollywood film, except there’s no director screaming, “CUT!” to stop filming.
While we know this pandemic will one day end, we have no say when that will happen. It stops when it stops. Simple as that.
In any major social shakeup, the most vulnerable members of our society — the working poor and the homeless — always take it on the chin. For the better off, situations like this are merely an annoyance. For the less fortunate, it’s truly a stressfess.
Reduced shopping mall hours means those who work in jobs that allow no flextime will have to take a day off work to get needed supplies. Assuming of course they can be found. The more greedy members of society, who have tons of wealth to spare, have gone out to hoard toilet paper, sanitizer, and milk in order to sell at a higher cost in order to make money. I’m an agnostic, but I believe there should be a special place in Hell for people like that.
The cancellation of community programs — which include job assistance and networking support — means those looking for work will have less tools for their job search. Some of these community programs also offer free meals for the homeless. With those closed, the homeless will not have a good meal except maybe in the local shelter. Assuming of course, there’s space to stay in them.
There’s no question there will an economic downturn as a result of the pandemic. In fact, according to an article in Forbes Magazine, rolling recessions are likely going to happen. I’ve lived long enough to have been through a few recessions and while each are different in cause and severity, one fact is common: it won’t be the executives and ranking managers of Corporate Canada who will lose their jobs — it will be the low-income rank and file who’ll get the boot. After all, in this Age of Austerity and the Jobless Recovery, human resources are no longer an investment but a line item on an expense report. The hit song “Times are tough, do more with less, downsize downsize.” will once again be popular but this time remixed to a techno COVID19 reverb track. Everything old is new again.
So exactly how does an economy recover from a recession caused by a virus? Maybe it will change the way the economy runs. Maybe it will run with less workers. I mean, we already have self-serve kiosks and online shopping. Perhaps Corporate Canada will justify this Jobless Recovery further by saying computer programs and routers don’t get sick. Why hire people at all?
With services and stores being closed down, the shelter offered by both will become scarcer. Those who are homeless or at least have unstable housing will have fewer places to go. They’ll be exposed more to the elements, which will make them sick, and in turn more susceptible to the COVID19 virus if their immune systems are compromised.
I’ve often argued for the case of a compassionate society where no one is left behind and that we are all in this together. The pandemic we all face makes that point even more important. We must heed the call to look after those who cannot fend for themselves rather than, as some have stated on social media, let social Darwinism reign and it’s every man and woman for themselves.
Thanks for reading!