Have you been puzzled by the lack of urgency in some quarters about re-opening the country’s businesses?
You see empty buildings all around you, many formerly thriving businesses. Yet there is a certain inertia among many leaders about opening up the country.
A New York Times column this morning sheds light on this puzzling phenomenon: you see, some people have had it pretty good during the lockdowns. Hint: these people are not waiters. Eve Peyser writes about “The People Who Actually Had a Pretty Great Year:”
In late spring, after almost two months of pandemic-induced shutdown, Dr. Anita Kulkarni was finally allowed to reopen her plastic surgery practice near Dupont Circle in northwest Washington. “It was like I had opened a floodgate,” she said. “I had 40 appointments, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. It was insane.”
Dr. Kulkarni estimates that even though she was unable to work for a significant part of this spring, she’ll finish out 2020 with 20 percent more cases than she did last year. Her patients, she explained, have spent these last few months “staring at themselves on Zoom and noticing imperfections that hadn’t necessarily bothered them before.”
Though a wide array of businesses are suffering this year, many that cater to professionals and the elite are doing better than ever. It’s now well-documented that the coronavirus pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated American inequality. While the wealthy and the highly educated haven’t entirely escaped the soul-crushing effects of the virus — quarantine-induced cabin fever, sharing at-home work spaces with Zoom schoolrooms and a number of other shared losses and stresses — they have also been, on the whole, getting richer.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found that jobs that can be performed remotely made up a relatively small share of pandemic-related job losses, and according to The Wall Street Journal “workers with bachelor’s degrees or higher had nearly fully recovered jobs lost in early spring” by September.
So, we’re in this together, but only up to a point, Lord Copper.
There are millions of people whose livelihoods have been destroyed. We should not begrudge those who have been less affected, but elected officials might give more consideration to sectors of their constituencies that are struggling to survive rather than signing up to fix those baggy spots as revealed by zoom.
Some rules established by elected officials (which they tend to refer to as “the law”) are killing their own citizens. Most of us have read about what happened to Angela Marsden, the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, in Los Angeles. Marsden did not have a pretty good year. She may lose her business, which would also affect her staff.
Marsden spent $80,000 to equip the restaurant, which she has owned for ten years, for outdoor dining before the county shut her down. Feed away from her shuttered business, Marsden observed people filming for television dining outdoors under tents. Some people are more equal than others in the Golden State.
Elected officials so far have shown little inclination to share with restaurants the supposedly scientific evidence on which they destroy people’s lives. Simone Barron had a particularly compelling blog on this.
Bill Gates, not an MD, is asking the government to enforce a nationwide shutdown. Gates says there is no “middle ground” on shutdowns.
There is no middle ground for Angela Marsden and millions in similar predicaments either. What a class-conscious pandemic. What a class-conscious shutdown. And apparently those who favor shutdowns don’t regard it as incumbent upon them to share with us peons the scientific data justifying these ruinous measures.