This amounts to a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. Just like in 2008, capital has taken hold of the crisis, and turned it to its own advantage.
Yet at this stage simply lifting the lockdown to get the economy going would do more harm than good. The lockdown has generated its own crisis. Immediately lifting the lockdown would risk exacerbating the damage already suffered by America’s poorest.
In April, at least 20 million people filed for unemployment. The sectors most affected by these job losses – those predicated on face-to-face interaction – are overwhelmingly peopled by precariously employed, low-paid laborers who have little in the way of savings or capacity to weather this catastrophe. The lockdown thus doubly damns the poor: most likely to be made ill at work, they are also most likely to lose their jobs.
That doesn’t mean it makes sense to rush people back to work in unsafe conditions that might lead to a new spike of infections.