It’s Only A Lockdown if You Can’t Afford It

By Renzo Guevara
It’s Only A Lockdown if You Can’t Afford It
Being mandated to stay at home for the sake of personal and public health shouldn’t be a problem, if it wasn’t so hard to do so. Not everyone is capable of working from home to receive a sustainable income. The negative effects of this lockdown are only really felt by those who aren’t privileged enough to ignore it.

Pay-To-Live

Staying at home isn’t so bad right? You don’t have to worry about commuting/ traffic, food is technically free, your bed is there at any time you need it, and you can easily do whatever hobby or leisure activity at any point.

It is if you’re lucky enough.

When lockdowns were enforced, we all had to live every aspect of our lives away from the outside world. None of us were ready for it. Socializing, entertainment, education, business, and jobs had to be done online or none at all.

If there was anything that was spreading faster than the COVID-19 virus itself, it would be the gap between the rich and the poor and how different both sides experience the reality of the pandemic.

Healthcare has always been expensive. For some of us, we barely bat an eye when we catch a cold or feel under the weather that warrants a visit to the doctor because we have the means to pay for it. But for the ones who are in the lower class of the population, it’s not as easy.

In the case of the Coronavirus pandemic, what’s usually recommended? Social distancing, an act that would require you to stay at a home that’s large enough to fit your needs with all the resources such as food, electricity, and entertainment to keep you at bay. Sanitation, which needs stable access to running water, alcohol, soap, and disinfectants. Only going out for essential travel which needs face masks, safe transportation to avoid public exposure, and the necessary permits and possibly, proof of vaccination.

If it wasn’t obvious enough already, not everyone can say that they can afford all of this.

We’re all in this “together”

As much as I’d love to sing along with everyone else, the harsh reality is that we’re only collectively experiencing the effects of this pandemic at a surface level.

It’s the same, but different.

When a large-scale crisis happens, it usually exposes a failed system that was meant to prevent it. Governments didn’t impose stricter policies at the start? Traveling outside started to spread the virus. Imposing a lockdown but failing to give proper financial and practical support to people in poverty? Lives will continue to be in danger.

The rich are able to carry on with their lives through the use of a digital screen and online spaces, the poor are left behind by the rest of the world because they can’t keep up with it. The Internet and technology aren’t exactly easy to get for everyone.

Make no mistake, COVID-19 feels like a pandemic for the poor and a minor nuisance for the privileged. I was out here complaining that I didn’t finish my senior year in college in the actual college while hundreds, if not millions out there have to stop going to school altogether.

Check your privilege

The next time I think about complaining about waking up early to sit in front of my laptop to type a few words and get paid for it, I’ll remember to slap myself.

It’s easy to complain.

I think the pandemic is annoying. I think it sucks that I got my degree through online classes. I think it sucks that I’m working in the same area I sleep and do my hobbies in. I think it sucks that I can only see my friends through social media. The fact that I’m able to complain about all of these, already shows that my problems are miniscule compared to those who have to worry about whether or not they’ll even have a meal for the day.

We can’t just sit here and say that “things are looking up” when we see the number of cases start to go down. Sure, the virus may not be as wild as it was before due to more defined health protocols and vaccine development, but we’re not out of the woods just yet. And if you’re part of the lucky ones who can say that you can wait, countless others out there are saying they can’t afford to.

Make sure you’re heard. Let’s work together.