COVID-19's Impact ON Lower-Income Families
The ubiquitous news of COVID-19 desensitizes the public with information. People are taking in all sorts of issues relating to health, sanitation, reopenings, and work. Despite encountering the difficulties, most citizens have gradually adapted and transitioned to a new lifestyle under the pandemic. However, others are not as fortunate. Lower-income families are struggling to make a living and to obtain pandemic necessities.
They can not afford what has been advised by Public Health. Safety measures include staying home if you are sick, disinfecting your house more frequently and storing adequate amounts of food and medication. People also need to purchase masks or coverings to enter supermarkets and indoor facilities. When looking online earlier this year, I noticed that there is a significant increase in the prices of the pandemic necessities. Walmart was selling a two-litre bottle of Purell for $268. Similarly, Amazon was selling N95 masks for $6 each. The drastic change in price has drawn quite some media attention and is often presented in the news and social media platforms. The price gouging of products makes the pandemic even more difficult to endure. Customers feel that stores and third-party sellers are profiteering on the sale of in-need items while making a windfall. The pandemic materials are quite some miscellaneous expenses for middle-class families, and they place more burden on people with lower incomes. With the additional fees to pay, lower-income families simply cannot afford the cost of staying safe. This puts them at greater risk and makes them more vulnerable to the illness.
A second problem lower-income families face is financial instability. The pandemic forces the majority of people to stay home. Many people, mostly those with higher incomes, have the option of working from home. However, a lot of people from lower-income families suffer either from job loss or shorten work hours to accommodate for COVID-19. Over the past year, about 44 percent of Canadian households report that they have lost work (Global News). The job loss hits lower-income families the hardest. With school closure, families need to sacrifice work hours in order to take care of the child. More importantly, some lower-income families rely on school lunch programs to provide their kids with a balanced diet. Without the service, parents who do not have paid sick leave face challenges in obtaining basic needs. Even though CERB is being given out, some lower-income families are still not eligible because they work part-time. As a result, the demand for food banks is 70 percent higher than before. Many lower-income families are not receiving the help they need to stay healthy.
COVID-19 brings a difficult time, especially for lower-income families. The emergency benefits from the government did not reach all of the in-need individuals. Advocates started to recognize the issue as problems with the CERB system rise to the surface. People began to urge the government to pose policies to specifically help low-income families. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has brought great inconveniences and problems to citizens. However, it is important for us to look out for one another and to overcome the pandemic together.