In recent weeks, when omicron variation spreads rapidly Across the United States, Americans are finding that the financial costs of the pandemic are weighing heavily on their shoulders.
As COVID-19 cases increase, public health experts have urged people to forego cloth masks in favor of higher-quality options – especially disposable N95 or KN95 mask – and check more often for viruses.
For some, the added financial burden is an uncomfortable, but still affordable, thing. For others, the prospect of paying $1 for a disposable mask or $24 for a test kit is an economic impossibility, raising the specter that the pandemic will further exacerbate inequality.
During the pandemic, three-quarters of workers said it was very or difficult to make ends meet, 40% said they couldn’t make $400 in an emergency, and about 20% said that they’re hungry because they can’t ‘don’t have enough money to eat, according to the Displacement Project, an ongoing survey of hourly wage workers in the US conducted by sociologist Daniel Schneider of Harvard University.
“These are workers who are facing the virus, and we are asking them to buy high quality masks and pay for rapid tests?” Schneider said. “For many of these workers, that’s not a possibility – this is about the food on the table. And when you’re faced with that impossible choice, it’s really unrealistic to divide pandemic prevention work among the working poor.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its mask guidelines, saying that N95 masks offer the most protection.
https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/coronavirus/costs-of-masks-tests-deepen-pandemic-wedge-between-haves-and-have-nots/2938842/ Cost of Masks, Testing Deepens Pandemic Links to Haves and Have-Nots – NBC4 Washington