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Covid-19 is an equal-opportunity menace

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As I follow the media day by day, it does something that would be difficult for an individual person to achieve without access to the information - it humanizes us. The numbers of infected and dead tic up inexorably, but they're just numbers, just statistics; it's the stories of the people we don't know who have suffered and died or suffered and lost, those who cannot protect themselves, those who battle the infection in spite of fear for their own lives and those of their families - these connect us to the rest of humanity even though we're isolated and behind a screen. Race matters little. The novel coronavirus doesn't care what color we are outside, it just wants our lungs and it's not picky about those.

But even more, the media reports of something that surprises and shocks us - the passing of the famous, the rich, the notable in society - from the very same virus that gobbles up the poorest of the poor. So far the virus has taken former senators, famed musicians, noted actors, honored journalists. Until now we had become accustomed to looking for the cause of death of such persons to reveal some seedy under-truth like a drug overdose, but now we see that they simply die like the rest of us. Coronavirus is like a great rolling-pin that flattens out the vertical separation in our society.

Yes, it's true that the wealthy have more means to resist than the slum-dwellers of Mumbai of those in the favelas of Rio, or the homeless of Manhattan. They can run, but they can't hide, from this virus. It's here to stay. It isn't going to just vanish; instead, humanity will build a herd immunity until it becomes powerless to harm us - to harm the survivors. A vaccine, in time, will hasten that process. Until that happens, the media will keep on noting the passing of the Great and the Good, like meteors falling to earth, where the rest of us reside.

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Being rich definitely does help. Some of my friends live in apartments with 20, maybe 40 people and one, maximum two bathrooms. They are all coughing now, it only took one person to get it. The government is advising against communal living right now but aren't offering alternatives. And yeah some of them are still going out to work in supermarkets. Inequality speeds the spread of this virus. :(

But, as Bill Gates says, "The good news is that rich people have this"... when it comes to medical innovation there really is a trickle down effect, it isn't imaginary!

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