Forty years of American politics have made Covid-19 a working-class problem | Francine Prose

While the rich work from home, others are packed on subways or losing their jobs. This pandemic calls for a reckoning

Except for the photos of people who have recovered from Covid-19, flashing victory signs, some wearing the new accessory, oxygen cannulas, few encouraging images have emerged from the pandemic. We’ve seen coffins in Bergamo, panicked migrant workers in New Delhi, patients on gurneys lining the hospital hallways in Spain and here at home.

Among the most disturbing are the photos and videos of jam-packed New York subway stations and cars, crowded with passengers – mostly people of color – on their way to work. Some passengers are wearing masks, some aren’t. Whether they like their jobs, believe in what they do, worry about health protections at work, fear losing their health insurance, if they have any, they probably have something in common: they wouldn’t be on this packed subway if they didn’t have to be.

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