America's loneliness epidemic squeezes the middle

What about those in the lower socioeconomic tiers? Data is hard to come by, nor can I speak from my own experience. But it stands to reason that many simply have not had time to get informed about all the dangers involved with Covid-19, while others may be actively hostile to elite opinion, including the available body of scientific evidence. That is highly unfortunate, for their health and for those around them, but one consequence may be that they have continued their socializing at pre-pandemic levels.

Poorer individuals are also far more likely to be working in public-facing service jobs. In many of those jobs, such as at Walmart or McDonalds, there are coworkers to socialize with. There is workplace chatter that an adjunct professor teaching remotely does not experience.

Of course, some kinds of socializing are preferable to others, and some groups more privileged; a desert resort is more convivial than the stock room at a big-box retailer. And while the pandemic has left a lot of people very lonely β€” many of the elderly in nursing homes, for example, have had a difficult time maintaining and extending relationships β€” it’s pointless to debate which group is loneliest. Still, I might argue for some sympathy for Northerners in midlevel jobs who work alone or remotely. Think of academics, accountants, middle managers.

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