Governor Whitmer announced in an online, town hall meeting, the formation of a task force that will guide emergency response and influence future policy. The justification for this focus is the recognition that, while COVID-19 does not check credentials before taking residence in a new host, systemic injustice means that some are more at risk than others. The reality is that racial disparities in health care exists in our state and nation.
The headline for an article in the New York Times reads: As Coronavirus Deepens Inequality, Inequality Worsens Its Spread.1 The article argued that the spread of the coronavirus brought to light the connection between severity of impact and economic inequality. And the reality is that those of us nearer the bottom of the economic ladder are more likely to catch the disease, and also likelier to die from it.
And those who manage to remain healthy are likelier to suffer loss of income or health care as a result of quarantines and other measures. But the bad news spills over economic boundaries. Past research on influenza found that in an epidemic, poverty and inequality can exacerbate rates of transmission and mortality for everyone.
Our reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic certainly sheds light on the diversity of human nature. Our fall back labels, characterizations, presumptions, and the like, shatter under such stress. Instead, those characteristics which determine heroism and effective leadership become clearer. Rhetoric gets exposed for just what it is — thin layers of misrepresentation of facts.
Cowardliness and incompetence also share the spotlight. Along with years of allowing greed to determine policy. The competition for supplies is exposing systemic inequalities all over the world. Families, cities, states, hospitals, and countries are competing for life-saving supplies. Money and influence uses power to competitive advantage. We all lose.
In our next series, Risen, we dig deeper into the inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering, and challenge ourselves to be among the ordinary, faithful people that keep the truth alive. How do our beliefs translate into actions? What difference can a few, faithful, but ordinary witnesses make?
It appears that most, if not all, of our time on Risen will be online. I pray that you will join us each Sunday morning at 10:30 am. We plan to be live via webinar, through Facebook live, or you can call (929) 436-2866 and enter the meeting number — 324 841 204. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.