Race and Economy

There’s a big racial divide over COVID-19 cost concerns, new study finds

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jul 29, 2020
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The study also says nonwhite workers are about twice as likely as whites to stay in a job they don’t like because they’re afraid of losing health insurance during the pandemic. Go Nakamura/Getty Images
Race and Economy

There’s a big racial divide over COVID-19 cost concerns, new study finds

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jul 29, 2020
Heard on:
The study also says nonwhite workers are about twice as likely as whites to stay in a job they don’t like because they’re afraid of losing health insurance during the pandemic. Go Nakamura/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

People of color are almost twice as likely as white people to be worried about how to pay for care if they get COVID-19, according to a new study from Gallup and and the nonprofit West Health.

They interviewed about a thousand people for the study, asking, “How concerned are you about paying for care if you get COVID-19?”

“Among non-Hispanic whites, that level of concern is 32%, so not insignificant. But it jumps all the way up to 58% among nonwhites,” said Gallup’s Dan Witters, senior researcher on the poll.

Witters said respondents in households with annual incomes under $40,000 were three times more likely to be concerned than those with incomes over $100,000.

“Well, over half of those folks in those lower-income households are really worried — they’re really concerned,” he said.

Witters said many of them are African American or Hispanic. One other result of all this COVID-19 cost worry? The study says nonwhite workers are about twice as likely as whites to stay in a job they don’t like because they’re afraid of losing health insurance during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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