Not only has the pandemic taken many lives, it is tearing apart the structure of society as we know it. Here the City Journal describes the consequences that the economic impacts will have on different classes.

In this miserable Covid-19 spring, it’s tempting for remote workers to vent our frustrations with being hemmed in, forced to stare at screens while unable to do much else other than walk around the block or go to Costco. Yet the pain felt by the teleworking middle class is dwarfed by that of working-class Americans.

Outside of nursing homes, the coronavirus has hit poor communities hardest, a problem tied to living and working in close proximity with the public. Unlike the affluent of Gotham, some 30 percent or more of whom, in certain neighborhoods, were able to leave town and work remotely, few people in poor communities have fallback options. They remain where they are, riding public transit and enduring crowded conditions. The far poorer Bronx has suffered nearly twice as many deaths from Covid-19 as more prosperous, but even denser Manhattan.

Public-transit use appears to be a significant factor in infection, not only in New York but also in car-dominated cities like Detroit, Houston, and Los Angeles, where the poor constitute a disproportionate share of riders. Living conditions for poorer populations represent another factor, according to a recent study by the Furman Institute at New York University. In working-class communities, many residents share homes or apartments with extended family. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to socially distance or quarantine when you live in a confined space containing multiple adults. This is particularly true in Los Angeles County, home to five of the ten most crowded zip codes—including the most crowded—in the U.S. Living in multigenerational homes may be one reason why the poor in areas like South Central Los Angeles or East L.A., according to an L.A. County survey, have suffered virus death rates twice those of better-off precincts.

Much the same pattern can be seen in Houston, where poor, often immigrant families in areas like the First or Third Wards have experienced far higher rates of infection and fatalities. An analysis by the Houston Chronicle revealed that seven of the ten zip codes with the highest rates of infection were majority black and low-income communities. Some had double or triple the average per-capita rate in the county.

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