COVID-19 For All?

The frenzy caused by the pandemic found all of us a little unprepared, thinking that it can infect royal families, popes and prime ministers. At first glance, it seems as if COVID-19 equates us to those in power by reducing all of us merely into biological beings. We may think that the boundaries between races and classes are thus rendered invisible. However, a sociological glance tells a quite different story. Indeed, COVID-19 is the very agent that reveals the inequalities within the system we live in.

Think about the universalizing call “Stay at home”. Who does this line address? Those who can work from home and pay their rents without a regular income are the first to come to mind. What kind of works can be done from home, then? Can a baker, nurse, grocery shop worker work from home? Those who provide the basic needs during the crisis, those who feed the ones in their homes cannot “go home”. And we are okay with this. As long as the middle and upper classes are safe and well-fed during the quarantine. As is seen, some lives can be sacrificed for others, which reveals the class dynamics of capitalism in its harshest facet. Another call “Wash your hands with soap” sets another frame, from which countries without adequate sanitary resources are excluded.

With these in mind, we are to see that only some of us have the means not to encounter the virus. So, COVID-19 does not equate us. It rather hits the poorest and vulnerable first, as the capitalist system has long been doing.