When Coronavirus Quarantine Is Class Warfare

from NYTs

It’s been a big week for what I refer to as “Hermit Tech.” Stock in technology companies that facilitate working from home have soared in a spiraling market otherwise anxious by an impending coronavirus pandemic. Netflix is preparing for the server strain of the bored but quarantined masses. Expensive Peloton stationary bikes and streaming workout services are seeing substantial spikes in interest. Tech guides are popping up suggesting everything from noise-canceling headphones, Wi-Fi signal boosters, and productivity hacks for families who’ll need to make close quarters work and life livable.

As a Hermit Tech aficionado, this makes sense. I’m a Times employee living in Montana and so social distancing is closer to the status quo for me than I care to admit. I work from home. I show my disheveled face in meetings via Zoom and Skype and Google Hangouts. I FaceTime my therapist, who practices in New York City, where I used to live. I chat endlessly with co-workers, sources and friends via Slack and 49,000 other direct messaging channels. Recently, my partner and I calculated that we’d save on gym membership if we splurged upfront on a $2,245 Peloton. Hermit Tech has made my (definitely not typical) life wildly efficient. Thanks to technology, human contact has unexpectedly become a luxury I can choose to seek out.

And my lifestyle is a luxury. I’m incredibly fortunate to have an employer that allows remote work and to have access to the sometimes expensive tools that help me get my job (and even mental health treatment) done. The same goes for the disposable income that allows for the bike and Amazon Prime. I don’t use Instacart or DoorDash for delivery (mostly on principle after pieces like this from my Times colleagues) or need a service like Wag for an on-demand dog walker, but those services are accessible to me, should I want them. Partly because Silicon Valley has been building them for someone just like me for the last decade.

More here.

Posted in Ethics, Future Thinking, Social Responsibility and tagged , , , .

26 Comments

  1. This article touches on a privilege and the social inequalities in the United States. As sports leagues, corporations and schools shut down, the people left confused are the workers who can’t afford to not get paid. In the United States, it’s a live to work mentality. Many citizens work minimum wage jobs where if you don’t show up to work you do not get paid. These lower paid jobs are usually those of blue-collar work where the transition to working from home is not an option. It’s a domino effect that is even more apparent during a pandemic as the Coronavirus. The lower class does not have as many opportunities which leads them to have less education which leads to lower paying jobs. These low paying jobs are vital to keeping the economy going but the United States government inaction says otherwise.
    As a similar New York Times article states, “if the government Congress can help by mandating that workers receive paid time off if they fall ill, or if they need to care for an ailing family member.” This has become a crisis and one the United States has been ill-equipped to handle due to their slow movement and lack of understanding. Our own President (less than a week ago) stated for people to go to work and pay no attention to “fake news.” Fast-forward to now, where the NBA would rather lose millions (if not billions of dollars) by canceling the rest of the season rather than spread the virus. This is a perfect storm where the privileged were able to access information about the reality of the virus and work towards a goal of containment. As the nation was told not to worry about the virus people went to work only to find out there was reason to prepare. It is now up to everyone to contain the virus and we have a responsibility as a nation to take care of each other. This is a story we hear all the time. The lower class receives worse healthcare and must go to work to make ends meet causing illness to spread like wildfire. The upper class has better healthcare and benefits and can contain the virus in a better manner.
    It is particularly interesting that, “a 2013 study of workers in Allegheny County, Pa., estimated that allowing them to take up to two paid “flu days” would have reduced workplace transmission of the flu by roughly 39 percent.” This is truly an astonishing number. The country must learn from this pandemic. Viruses do not discriminate based on what political party you support. But it does affect lower class communities tremendously due to economic and social factors. If geography is destiny and you can’t choose who/where you are born – it is up to us as a nation to right this wrong.

  2. During times like this, the inequalities between the rich and poor become evident. The coronavirus causes concern for many people because no one wants to get sick which generally means avoiding as much contact with other people as possible. For some people this is an easy task because they are able to work from home, but for other people this is a nightmare because they have to physically go to work and be more at risk of getting sick. Not only is it bad if these individuals get sick but having to go to work because of financial pressure means they are putting everyone else at risk for getting virus. This is a main reason why many illnesses spread because a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to take a day off, or maybe even being fired from taking off too many days. Those who are fortunate enough to work at home are in the best position considering they are at low risk of contracting the virus, very low risk of spreading it, and can still make income or even live off of previously saved money. This emphasizes on the difference between the rich and the poor because the rich can afford to take time off of work and live comfortably whereas the poor do not want to take time off in fear of not knowing how they will be able to pay the bills or eat that week if they were to take off. As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly and has been classified as a pandemic, our leaders encourage people to stay home if they feel ill and are implementing financial aid. The gap between the classes has been shown and is growing due to this virus, but the financial aid will help to keep the economy going and slow down the rate at which the divide increases.

  3. With this most recent declaration of a pandemic also comes the panic of a potential collapse of society. As discussed in this article, I also believe humanity has been waiting and hoping for an official “work from home” lifestyle. This allows people to do as they please whether that be work in their underwear, spend more time with family or friends, or even save money on travel like gas or road tolls. Perhaps when all of this hysteria dies down, people will actually be well rested and motivated to get back to their regular office job life.
    I find it interesting how quickly and rapidly people are reacting to this sort of moment in history. I personally am “going with the flow” of this time of population-wide panic and am just trying to be as preventative as possible for myself and the people around me. I am not one of the people who rushed to the stores or Amazon’s website to order Lysol, Purell, or cases upon cases of water. It makes perfect sense companies like Netflix and Peloton are upping their game since they are perfect “at-home” entertainment factors. The potential for more people to be working from home than in an office is extremely high.
    A big preventative measure I have been taking is avoiding the gym. This I think is key to reducing my chances of potentiality of retracting the virus through use of equipment. Though anti-bacterial sprays can be available at the gym, there is still the risk that those using the equipment do not clean up after themselves or I would forget to clean the equipment before or after my own use. Another important preventive measure I also think is essential for humanity is having organizations like the NBA, NCAA, schools/universities, and offices shut down to avoid large crowds of human-to-human contact. Personally, I think the most intense and proactive way to stop the spreading would be to suspend travel as a whole. This would entail shutting down most, if not all, air, bus, and train travel. Though this is pretty much impossible, these forms of travel need to have at least a 2 week suspension to force people to stay where they are as best they can. This would allow countries to get an official number on how many people have the virus and maybe even completely or mostly defer the spreading of the virus to more of the population.

  4. The coronavirus has caused an uproar throughout the entire world, leaving people terrified to leave their homes. This article touches on the advantages we have in being able to live comfortably from our homes. We can still talk to family and friends as we please, finish up work or school, and attend important personal and work-related meetings all without ever leaving the comfort of our homes. Now people are emptying their local supermarkets and pharmacies in preparation for this “Hermit Tech” lifestyle they are about to live.
    Charlie Warzel, the author of the article, lives this life every day. As a Times employee living in Montana and working from home, he sees his “Hermit Tech” lifestyle as a luxury. He appreciates the efficiency of it and appreciates the other people who are out in the world on his behalf. He mentions the Instacart employees that do his grocery shopping for him and the Amazon employees that will deliver whatever he needs right to his doorstep. This lifestyle is ultimately only possible for him because of the employees that show up to their job every day, so what if that wasn’t the case anymore.
    Now I think about this “mass quarantine” everyone on the Internet is talking about. They claim that the United States is going to put the entire country on quarantine for thirty days and not allow anyone besides police officers, doctors, and government officials to leave their homes. When this rumor began to spread, I didn’t believe it for a second, but after reading the article I recognize the impossibilities of this even more. The country simply could not function if there were a mass quarantine. “Hermit Tech” only works because people are doing their job in the real world. Do people think that families of fifteen, for example, can survive thirty days without running out of resources? Especially now that the grocery stores lack almost everything we use daily, this just cannot happen.
    “Hermit Tech” is an interesting lifestyle, but I don’t see it functioning in mass numbers.

  5. The opinion piece, “When Coronavirus Quarantine is Class Warfare”, written by Charlie Warzel, discusses the differences among the income classes in America that are experiencing the working from home culture due to the coronavirus epidemic. With the outbreak of the virus, more companies are deciding to allow their employees to work from home. Working from home is seen as beneficial for today’s society because it will help incubate the virus, which will ultimately lead to having more control over the virus. While working from home sounds great, unfortunately not everyone’s job position will allow them to do so. People working in establishments such as retail and the fast food industry are not given the opportunity because of what the job demands. These types of jobs require manual labor and cannot be satisfied working from a laptop from the comfort of their home. With the working from home culture being implemented in the workplace, services like UberEats and Grubhub being available “allow you to stay at home work only when others have to be out in the world on your behalf” (Warzel). The people that work in these industries not only cannot work from home, but they cannot afford to take the time off to quarantine themselves. The article diligently points out the irony between the working classes that has been uncovered with the global epidemic taking place.

    As the article states, low income class families are being hit the worst from the coronavirus because they cannot afford to take off work and their jobs typically involve interacting with a large amount of people. According to the New York Times article, “Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford”, written by Claire Cain Miller, Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz, lower income workers may be hit harder by the coronavirus because their jobs involve “high contact with other people”. Before reading that particular New York Times article, I did not even think about the amount of contact that people in the retail/fast food industry make daily. Just in Starbucks stores, they typically have “an average of just over 500 customers per day” (Lutz). This is scary to think because the virus is very easily transmittable, that just a simple cough or sneeze could potentially put these workers in danger. I worked at Starbucks for four years, and even with all the sanitizing processes I was still grossed out by all the contact with customers. You may be clean, but other people do not have the same hygiene habits as you do. What would gross me out the most about working in the fast food industry was having to touch the customers credit/debit cards in order to carry out the transaction. People that are working in these industries have such a high risk of capturing the virus, and even spreading it to other people because of the high amount of people they interact with daily.

    The article also points out that people that are given the opportunity to work from home are now able to do so comfortably because of the advancement of technology. If this hysteria about the coronavirus would have happened ten years ago, people would have been in a panic because there is not much that could be done from the comfort of your home. But now, employees can work remotely because of the applications installed on their work laptops that allow them to not have to be physically present at the office. There are also the various services offered to people that stay at home, now “being holed up at home has never been more pleasant” (Warzel). Many companies that offer services for the employees that are working remotely can profit from this because of the demand.

    One of the services that I feel like will benefit tremendously due to the coronavirus are streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. The Guardian article, “Coronavirus: when binge-watching goes viral”, by Steve Rose, points out that because people are being advised to stay away from large crowds and work from home, these “conditions are perfect for a marathon binge-watch.” Personally, I have spent hours binge-watching television shows and movies on Netflix even before the virus. More people may feel inclined to purchase the streaming services because they have nothing else better to do. Technological advancement has made staying at home and working remotely more comfortable for all parties involved, but only if they are awarded the luxury to do so- unlike lower class workers.

    Because most companies are allowing their employees to work from home, they may feel more inclined to continue this process even after the coronavirus dies down. “Sorry, but Working From Home is Overrated” written by Kevin Roose points out that there are many negative arguments that overshadow the positive when it comes to working from home. Working from home offers benefits like “no commute, no distracting co-workers, [and] home-cooked [lunches]” (Roose). This is said to increase productivity and cost in the workplace because of all the time saved and the loss of distractions. I would have to disagree with this statement because I have the ability to work from home at the job I’m at now, and I feel like that’s when I’m the most unproductive when it comes to work. I usually will be sitting down and working and all of a sudden have the urge to clean my room or perform household chores. When I’m at the office, I get the most work done because I’m sitting at a desk with no distractions. Unfortunately, one of the negative aspects pointed out in the Roose article to working from home can be derived from what workers “gain in productivity, they often miss in harder-to-measure benefits like creativity and innovative thinking” (Roose). I would have to agree with this 100%. Talking to people face-to-face is not the same as talking with them over the phone. When you socially interact with people, it is a whole different feeling as it is to interact with them online. Another negative impact would be the social feature from working from home. When you go to an office, you can interact with others. Working from home confides you from the world so you don’t get the chance to physically interact with people. I really do not think it would be beneficial for companies to allow their employees to work solely from home. I think that a couple of days throughout the week would be okay, but to have them work solely from home could cause damages to an organization’s productivity.

    Alicia Weismann pointed out in the responses section that a preventative measure she is taking to ensure she does not contract the virus is avoiding the gym. I am on board with her on that because people at the gym can be gross. When I work out, I make sure to wipe down the equipment after every use because it is more sanitary for other members. But I have observed that a lot of people don’t wipe down their equipment after using. Something that I am doing to prevent contracting and spreading the virus is making sure that I wash my hands often. I’ve always had the habit to wash my hands a lot because when I worked in the fast food industry, you would essentially have to wash your hands after touching your face, counter, etc. But in order to do my part, I’ve been making sure that I wash my hands anytime I interact with someone, touch a non-disinfected area, and so on. This virus is not nearly as horrendous as the flu is, but I feel like everyone should do their part in putting an end to the virus by being more conscientious when it comes to hygiene.

    In conclusion, the initial article that this response is based off of points out the inequalities of income classes with the coronavirus pandemic. Lower income class people are more susceptible to contracting the virus because their jobs primarily involve working with other people. Their industry could serve hundreds of people a day, and all it takes to spreading the virus is one person. Lower income class people also cannot afford to take off work because they do not get as many sick days or have that much residual income. Higher income class people are afforded the luxury of working from home and can do so comfortably because of the services and advancement of technology. Many companies may decide to allow their employees to work from home indefinitely, which I think would be a bad idea because it puts a halt to productivity and creativity. All in all, this virus is impacting the world much more than we initially thought it would. Different income classes are taking different hits, which can be positive or negative.

    References

    Lutz, Ashley. “How Many Customers Starbucks Will Have In The Future [CHART].” Business Insider, Business Insider, 30 Oct. 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-customers-starbucks-will-have-2013-10.

    Miller, Claire Cain, et al. “Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/01/upshot/coronavirus-sick-days-service-workers.html.

    Roose, Kevin. “Sorry, but Working From Home Is Overrated.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Mar. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/10/technology/working-from-home.html.

    Rose, Steve. “Coronavirus: When Binge-Watching Goes Viral.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Mar. 2020, http://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/mar/12/coronavirus-binge-watching-netflix-streamers-viral.

    Warzel, Charlie. “When Coronavirus Quarantine Is Class Warfare.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Mar. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/opinion/coronavirus-quarantine-hermit-tech.html.

  6. Coronavirus has been a big topic for most of the world. The highly contagious disease has spread throughout the world and has been found on every continent around the world. When the world first found out about the coronavirus, I did not think anything of it and thought it was just a little disease that China was going to have to deal with. Slowly, more and more cases of the disease started to pop up across the globe. With the rising rate of those being affected, this disease has spread fear throughout everyone’s modern lives. People have begun a phase of shutting down most events around the world and many lives are being changed by this virus.
    The article made a fair point with the virus causing a shift in the way work will be done in the future. A quote from Ian Bogost stated, “Contemporary society has been bracing, and even longing, for quarantine… being holed up at home has never been more pleasant.” He is right about this because technology has been able to make living in quarantine an option. Most people will still be able to communicate with one another and will still be able to get some work done through the internet.
    It is a shame, however, that we are forcing all events to be shut down and canceled. We have lost the NBA, NHL, and the NCAA March Madness tournaments. Many of the seniors in college will end their basketball careers this year and are not even given a chance to go out playing for a championship that they have chased the past four years. I understand why we have done this because the virus is so contagious. It would put more people at risk of getting the virus if we hosted sporting events and large social gatherings. Just a few days ago, it was discovered that Rudy Gobert, starting center for the Utah Jazz, was diagnosed with the Coronavirus and he was unaware of this a actually passed the virus to some of his teammates, including Donovan Mitchell. If it was not for one of the trainers for the Oklahoma City Thunder, for coming out onto the court and making the coaches and officials aware of the diagnosis, there could be thousands of more people that could have been affected.

  7. Just over one week ago, I submitted a comment about how CoronaVirus had led to universities in China switching to online classes. In my comment, I mentioned that it was a possibility that the same would soon happen in the United States, but I honestly never thought that would happen. Now, my college as well as all in the surrounding area have moved online, leaving students confused and frustrated. While a 100% digitized education may not be ideal, it is in the best interest of US citizens, and is for the most part accessible.
    I think that the author brought up a very important point: while to many of us, working remotely and taking classes online is not a huge deal, to many it is not an option. Those working physical labor jobs, in any retail or grocery store, or any customer facing position, will not have the same luxury. While companies transition to working from home, many others still have to go into their jobs and risk their health as well as the health of those around them. This could continue the spread of CoronaVirus.
    The author also brings up the point that “during a pandemic, conscientious isolation is actually a social act”, which I found to be very interesting. Being isolated at home with work and school work has brought up concerns among my family and friends about cabin fever and just plain boredom. Luckily, we have many ways to communicate with each other, whether that be through social media, text, or FaceTime. We will all be very far from alone during these next few weeks of uncertainty. This act of self isolation and avoiding large groups or events is for the overall benefit of the country and all citizens. The government hopes that this will flatten the outbreak curve, and I think that is something we can all stand behind.
    The final point that I want to bring up that I found interesting was about Silicon Valley. “Silicon Valley has long faced criticism for building products for itself, which is to say, products aimed at solving problems of upper middle class men who spend far too much time working and crave micro efficiencies and greater convenience”. I have never heard this side of things before, and I was surprised when I read it. After thinking about it, I do agree that many of the creations coming out of Silicon Valley are only beneficial to the upper and upper middle classes.

  8. This current pandemic has more than proven that it is disruption to our society. It has truly proven that it will alter the way we live day to day. Trump during his presidential address earlier this week announced that he would attempt to implement some travel regulations in and out of the country to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Just today declaring it a national emergency. An interesting result of this virus is the slashing of airline tickets out of the country. Unfortunately, people are still making the ill mistake of purchasing these tickets and venturing out into areas where they can be in danger.
    Conversely, there is a population of people who prefer to stay inside and take no chances, and if you are fortunate enough, you can even work from home. In the first two paragraphs, Warzel cites that stocks in home furnishings such as Peloton bikes and streaming services like Netflix have and will continue to rise. This is what happens when events as grand as these occur. People panic and expect to fully alter their lives around an at home or “hermit tech” life. Effects such as pandemics affect our lives in these ways, the people changing their lifestyle to survive and companies profiting off those accommodations.
    Warzel also speaks on his lifestyle being a luxury, that his employer allows him to work from home. However, what happens to those who do not have that luxury and must present themselves to a world that is potentially dangerous. There should be some research in transitioning to an online integrated work environment. This pandemic has also shocked the sports world. The rest of professional seasons being cancelled to protect the fans from the virus. That being said, the workers of these facilities are now at of jobs, and the unfortunate part about the facility workers is their jobs don’t have the option to be moved online. So, what is next for them? While I understand that it would be impossible for every profession to be taken online, we must try to make that possible for as many people as we can. Universities have already begun to make this possible for their students.
    Universities across the country, from California to New York have cancelled in-person classes and have moved to an online curriculum. Although some colleges are only suspended for the 14-day period for symptoms to show, many have closed for the semester. Which brings into question, are other universities going to follow this trend? If so, are schools capable of moving to an online classroom and having that experience accredited?

  9. Interesting, I have never thought about it in that way. That the only reason shutting yourself at home and excluding yourself from society works is because there are people who can not afford to shut themselves in and exclude themselves from society. That they must get up in the morning and work, when you think about it like that it means that nothing really comes for free there is always someone who is sacrificing something in general. It is true what the article says about how staying at home and working from home is for the upper middle class because most of the time the people who take up the manual labor jobs or jobs that require to travel a lot like doing deliveries etc. those jobs are usually taken by those who are in the lower class and because the cant afford to miss work or work from home because they show up to work it makes the lives of those who are working from home easier because you can just order anything online and it will be delivered straight to your door. But the way I see it is if you are shutting yourself inside and working from home because of the Coronavirus then I still don’t think you are that safe if you are also constantly ordering products online. At the end of the day someone has to come and deliver those items to you door step but before it even gets to your doorstop I don’t think we understand how many people and hands it has to pass through before it even reaches you. Most of the time whatever you order is coming from either a different country or a different state meaning it pass through multiple states or countries before it even reaches you. So, I don’t think you have to be smart to realize that hey if my package has gone through that many people and places there is a possibility that maybe it could have went through the hands of a secret infected person thus endangering yourself and those that you are lacking yourself in with. What I am basically saying is that it is not safe anywhere and the best thing you can do is just be careful, don’t do anything reckless and don’t stop living your life because of this. It must be hard to live a life in fear of catching a virus.

  10. The Coronavirus was recently declared a global pandemic to which affected regions have responded with restrictions in order to principally avoid large crowd gatherings. These restrictions, in the United States at least, have included the suspension of presencial roles in many institutions. The institutions that have applied these measures are, for the most part, of high status. It is imperative to mention that not all institutions of high status have applied such measures. Many institutions still allow staff to attend normally to work. The controversy with this situation comes into play if we compare the different working classes. White collar workers, having more flexibility in jobs specially within the service industry, can perform their tasks regardless of their location thanks to technological tools. It is obviously also implied that these workers have access to the tools and resources needed to perform their tasks at home. On the other hand, blue collar workers have no choice but to keep attending their place of work. Blue collar workers, principally performing labor work, have no way to perform their tasks outside of their workplace. Even if there was a way, they probably wouldn’t be able to access the necessary tools and resources. The technology that has been developed to help people stay connected and perform their tasks regardless of their location is revolutionary and is very helpful, but we have to remember that not all persons have the access to such technology. Being able to stay at home and perform tasks from there can then be translated as a sign of prestige and high social status. It obviously seems unfair since blue collar workers will not have any flexibility and will be at a higher risk of contracting the virus, but being that the United States is a capitalist society, it is logical.

  11. The term “Hermit Tech” was something that I had never heard of prior to reading this article, but I can now see the relevance of the time with the current events. The author Charlie Warzel describes the term as Stock in technology companies that facilitate working from home have soared in a spiraling market otherwise anxious by an impending coronavirus pandemic. The extent of the virus and the global pandemic has led to more and more people staying home from work and school, leading to the increase in the hermit tech that is discussed. Whether it is people who are quarantined using services such as Hulu or Netflix, just an overall increase in internet traffic because of the lack of people going out amid fears of the virus spreading. With most colleges and universities also out of classes because of the virus the increase of internet traffic and use of services like Slack and Microsoft Teams, will not only increase use and strain on internet service providers but will also create the need for new technology products. As Charlie Warzel had said “I’m a Times employee living in Montana and so social distancing is closer to the status quo for me than I care to admit. I work from home. I show my disheveled face in meetings via Zoom and Skype and Google Hangouts. I FaceTime my therapist, who practices in New York City, where I used to live. I chat endlessly with co-workers, sources and friends via Slack and 49,000 other direct messaging channels.” His lifestyle is what people are changing to in these times so that they can be protected from the fears of the coronavirus. However, I think that there is going to a move toward this type of technology and way of living in the future regardless of what is going on in the world.

  12. The unexpected changes that are occuring due to the outbreak of the coronavirus are starting to become severe. When the coronavirus first appeared in China I thought nothing of it, but now that it has become a pandemic the whole world is in shock. In this article Charlie Warzel discusses his lifestyle and the ability that he has to be employed by a company that allows remote work and grants him access to expensive tools to allow him to get his job done. Warzel touches on the point that we now live in a society that makes it pleasant being quarantined in a home. Although this may be true for some people, there are plenty of people who don’t have the luxury to be comfortable with devices and services for entertainment at home. Yes there are many Americans with the privilege to work from home, but there are a lot more Americans who have to get up and go to work, whether it be at a restaurant, retail store, delivery service etc.
    The majority of jobs still require people to physically be there putting in the manual labor. The article also states that tech companies are looking at this outbreak as a test to see if working remotely will broadly replace working in person. I feel that this statement is unrealistic due to the necessity that there is for people to be working manual jobs that are crucial to society. This situation will definitely test how efficient companies and workers can be while soley operating from remote working. But the government can also interfere in society by granting workers who are ill of the sickness with paid time off or workers who are taking care of loved ones who are ill. The positive about isolating yourself at home is that it drastically reduces the spread of the outbreak and the overall effects it will have on society. Overall, this article has allowed me to view this situation from a different perspective and consider the commodity that many Americans have that will make being isolated at home a little more pleasant, while also being aware of the many Americans that don’t have those commodities.

  13. As of today, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Like the author, most people for the next few weeks can be expected to work from home. The author of this article has a point when it comes to looking at how the social classes can view how the effects of being quarantined are. Many of the people with the luxury of working from home also have the luxury of many conveniences at their disposal as they will be home, unlike the people who cannot afford to stay home from their low-paying retail job. Technology has evolved to make the lives of most of the upper middle class significantly easier, while being out of reach for the people who are stuck at the lower end of the social class spectrum. Working remotely from home does have it’s benefits for the people who are working in companies that allow their employees to log in remotely, such as the employees having more flexibility to get things done around the house, and spending more time with their family, as most children in america are expected to be home as well, due to the many schools shutting down all across the country. While the upper middle class is benefitting, the people who have to work at their jobs are not. People working in janitorial services or any other labor required jobs in office buildings, are not going to be paid to work and clean or service an empty building, which may result in these people being possibly laid off. Retail employees are most likely going to be seeing layoffs as well, as while many people are shuffling to stores currently so they can stock up on products, will not be walking into those stores nearly as much once they are stocked up to self quarantine. While social distancing does work, the privilege of people who get to work remotely is going to create detrimental effects for the people who cannot afford that luxury. Most companies currently are not allowing paid sick time for any workers, even those that are constantly interacting with people and putting themselves at severe risk. I know that at my job working at Target, the management has told all of the employees in our store that if we call out sick, we will be written up, as the store is extremely busy. There are people who will shuffle into work sick and possibly spread whatever they have to many people, because they need the checks, but the companies refuse to help their employees, while the privileged get to sign in remotely in the comfort of their own home.

  14. It is interesting to think that the modern conveniences that much of skilled professionals of this country use is only enabled because a portion of people have to work under inhuman conditions, so that wealthier members of society can have more convenience in their lives. Just like how in medieval Europe, the peasants were the back bone of the economy who saw their labor being used to support the Nobles who gained all the benefits from the system, so too does the gig worker proved an important role to society that is abused in order to better the lives of those who are wealthier than them. The gig economy is a growing issue in the United States that needs to be addressed.
    One the problem brought about from having the system of the gig economy is that it is entirely built in the favor of the employer over the employee. This shown by the utter lack of unions and over reliance on freelance labor. This allows employers to force employees to agree to such practices as arbitration in their employment contracts and prevents employees from collectively bargaining for better labor condition and higher wages. These condition forces employees to be unable to not attend their jobs in times of crisis.
    Now that coronavirus will force more of America’s skilled labor to work from home, the reliance on such services as DoorDash and Amazon will only increase. This will force gig workers to work at faster paces and for longer in order to fulfill this rise in demand. These people will lack the luxury of working at home that many Americans will have during this crisis. Thankfully for all of us, the coronavirus has a low lethality, but the does not mean that it can still cause harm for both the workers in involved in these industries and the customers that use them. Some of these industries such as the food delivery industry, requires that both the gig worker and the customer using the service have contact with each other. If either of the parties involved with unknowingly has the virus, then they will spread it to the other party. This can lead to either party, especial the gig worker, spreading the virus further. It is odd to think that given that gig workers are risking exposure to the virus that their employer seem not to be concerned with this possibility.
    It is clear by the treatment gig workers receive from their employers, that this is an unjust system, that needs to be reformed in order to allow gig workers access to more of their workers rights. Congress should legislate new laws that will allow gig workers to collectively bargain and to prevent such practices as arbitration clauses. Sadly, under the current administration it is unlikely that we will see any attempts at clamping down on the unfair practices that are used by companies that rely on gig labor.

  15. Something in Charlie Warzel’s article, “When CoronaVirus quarantine is class warfare” that first intrigued me was the effect of the Corona Virus has on the business world. He states, “Stock in technology companies that facilitate working from home have soared in a spiraling market otherwise anxious by an impending coronavirus pandemic. Netflix is preparing for the server strain of the bored but quarantined masses,” which I expected in my head but when reading it out loud it really grasped my attention. Something that I wouldn’t even think about is the idea that “Tech guides are popping up suggesting everything from noise-canceling headphones, Wi-Fi signal boosters, and productivity hacks for families who’ll need to make close quarters work and life livable.” I expected brands and companies to capitalize off of the virus, but I did not even think about brands promoting things like noise-cancelling devices, or Wi-fi signal booster. The people working for these companies are truly thinking outside the box and being very creative. After all, companies will come up with the best of the best as long as they see money in return.
    Building off the idea that Warzel discussed at the beginning of the article being that the businesses that encourage working from home have seen a spike in success. My question is exactly what are the companies that do not encourage working from home doing? Or what the jobs that are completely hands on that do not have the luxury of working from home doing? And how much did company sales get affected?

  16. The virus is definitely a serious issue that needs to be handle in a certain manner but it is also paving a new way for the workforce. When you think about the kinds of people who you got to see work from home I know I tend to think of very important people or someone who is owning their own business. I remember growing up I got to watch my aunt run her business from her house and when she felt like she needed to go into the office she would. I just remember thinking to myself I want to be able to do that as well. I don’t want to be strapped to a desk for so many hours. Now with this virus, there might be a lot of change coming from it. So many schools and businesses have to shut down because people can’t be in contact with each other. It is forcing people to figure out ways to allow their students and workers to continue their lives from inside their homes. This isn’t a new concept of working from home but it was a slow movement towards everyone doing it. I think when the virus is slowed down and things get back to normal it is going to give us that push to start making employers give that option to everyone. For me, like I said I’ve always wanted to have that option for myself to give me that freedom. The only concern with everyone working from home is what about the people who can’t work from home? The people who have to be in constant contact with people? Will this kind of economy start to discriminate against the people who don’t have the option of not working from home? I am not sure if that will be what happens but if that is where we are headed then I won’t be happy with that. There are already so many issues with poor class versus the rich class. I don’t think because it is so beneficial for a lot of people we should also give up on humanity.

  17. The title of this article grabbed my attention immediately with the words “Quarantine is a Class Warfare”. Personally I can’t stop thinking about how I’m living something that will be in the history books in twenty years. In history we have all learned about how lower, middle, and high class have fares differently during catastrophic – but now were living it. Many of us come from different backgrounds and I assume it’s safe to say that if we had a conversation, we’d find that the experience is truly different for everyone. While reading this article I couldn’t help but apply my situation to what the author was saying. Because of this I would like to elaborate on how the virus is currently affecting the different “classes” in the education system. As students at our university we are fortunate that the technology Seton Hall has is allowing us to continue classes online. A few friends of mine go to community college, since students do not all have a personal laptop or device, the college is currently struggling to find ways to continue coursework in the time of the pandemic. For elementary, middle, and high schools, the schools that do not have one-to-one technology are frantically printing out worksheets in preparation for the shutdown. This is the information I’ve gathered just from being home for the past 2 days. I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to manage the abrupt shutdowns in underfunded or inner-city schools. My point being that it is important to recognize that the shutdown is affecting students of all ages. This is also going to cause problems for working parents who are unable to watch their young children during the day. For adults who do not have the luxury of being able to work from home, as the article pointed out the virus will be nearly impossible to avoid. Nationwide, we are experiencing something that really has never been done before, using the cases in China and Italy as are main examples to learn from. With the swine flu and SARS for example we didn’t have the technology to attempt to operate society from home, we really are learning as were going.

  18. The WHO declaration of a pandemic due to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns many companies in different sectors, not only because of the implications for the health of the population, but also because of the economic impact and business development. Although it seems opportunistic, there are markets and brands that could grow in this situation. One that has been talked about a lot in the past few weeks is Netflix.

    Given the gravity of the situation, several governments and some countries have chosen to limit their activity in public or work spaces, and have even suspended them entirely. Derived from this, it is said that one of the cuts that registered the greatest increase is that of products and services on demand.

    The increase in the number of coronavirus infections in some countries is leading to an increase in the demand for delivery services and digital platforms, particularly transmission such as Netflix (Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Rappi, Amazon Prime Video, even Disney + are also seen) given that by spending more time in their homes, people would be more involved in using these products.

  19. This article brings up a very interesting point being the ability to study to lives of individuals in different economic classes during this outbreak of the coronavirus. The author explains that today’s middle and upper classes are in a way hoping for a quarantine. Technology has recently given people the ability to never have to leave their homes. Need groceries, certain companies will now deliver them to your house. Need cleaning products, you can order them off amazon and have them the next day. These services even go as far as to order a person to take your dog for a walk of your phone. People no longer have a need to leave the house in order to live.
    To me this is a crazy concept, I have always been taught the importance of human interaction growing up. These new services take human interaction out of the picture. As the author states “Thanks to technology, human contact has unexpectedly become a luxury I can choose to seek out.” For a small fee, you now have the ability to take human contact out of your life, if you can afford it of course. May people, especially the ones who perform these services, aren’t able to be so lucky. As this article mentions the coronavirus is bringing these divides into the light. People who can afford to self-quarantine are able to increase their chances of not getting the virus. However, most hourly workers will not be able to afford to quarantine themselves. Without the income from there jobs, they will be unable to afford to pay their mortgages or to afford to put food on the tables for their families.
    This gap between the middle and upper-middle class will always be prevalent in or society. This does not mean that we as a society shouldn’t do things to help this divide and ensure that when events like a pandemic happen hourly workers will still be able to pay their bills.

  20. Reading this article was very interesting. As I sit here writing this blog, Rider University extended their Spring Break an extra week and will be having remote teaching for the following two weeks. As we look around us, the world is coming to a halt. Sports are being postponed, mass gatherings are being cancelled, and schools across the country are closing down. As this article touches upon, this is causing a lot of problems in society, affecting the working abilities and therefore livelihood of millions of citizens. As a college student, I depend on my income working as a Tour Guide for the University to pay my bills, so I understand the struggle. This article points out the injustices and the way that this pandemic is affecting the lower class particularly hard. Of course, everyone is affected, with jobs looking like they will close down for a bit in response to the coronavirus. However, the upper class have an option to continue to work from home, which is a luxury. You cannot work from home if you work in a kitchen or restock in a store, so people are really being hurt in this way of living. In a LA Times article, those who work in restaurants around sporting arenas are closing, losing job opportunities. As a society, we need to make it a priority to help out the lower class, because we are only as strong as our weakest link. The pandemic that coronavirus has caused and is continuing to cause should be an eye opener to help the lower class, otherwise the business world would be deeply impacted.
    https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-03-14/coronavirus-shutdown-small-businesses-sports-venues-economic-impact

  21. The effects of the Coronavirus became real to me when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus and the entire NBA completely shutdown. This sparked a chain reaction in sports. All leagues had been suspended and events that were once a given were cancelled (March Madness). I was watching the ESPN broadcast of the Dallas Mavericks game when the news about Gobert broke. Billionaire Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban was in attendance and the cameras showed his shocked reaction when hearing about the league suspending play. Cuban was quickly interviewed and his first thoughts were about how he was going to help the arena staff of the Mavericks who rely on these NBA games to put food on the table. I thought this was a tremendous and noble response to the shutdown of the NBA. Cuban immediately thought of those who would take the hardest financial hit from the virus and how he could help them.
    Charlie Warzel’s article about how the Coronavirus quarantine is a representation of class inequality in America is exactly what Cuban was afraid of. Warzel talks about how he is lucky to have a flexible work environment where it is possible for him to stay home. It is not so easy for many other Americans. These are the Americans that Cuban is so eager to assist. Those who work in fields such as construction that absolutely require them to be physically at work. Warzel brings up how Congress can help these Americans in the form of paid sick leave. I truly hope that Congress acts on this issue and comes to a conclusion about how to help these types of working Americans. Not every business or employer is in a position like Cuban where they can afford to pay employees who cannot show up to work. Many small business may unfortunately face bankruptcy if this situation gets out of hand. The responsibility now falls on Congress to quickly act in order to help workers like the arena staff of the Dallas Mavericks.

    Cuban’s Coronavirus response: https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/mavericks/2020/03/14/famous-for-setting-the-nba-on-fire-mavs-owner-mark-cuban-has-become-its-face-of-support-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/

  22. The Coronavirus pandemic has grown incredibly fast and far within a short period of time. I had commented on another article a few weeks ago about China forcing their universities to be strictly online, but I never would have thought that the United States would be in the same place. This article mentions the inequalities that the pandemic is shining light on between the rich and the poor. In a crisis like this, everyone is worried for their safety and wants to practice social distancing, but it is not that easy for everyone. Some people have the opportunity to stay at home and work while others have to risk their health by going into work. A lot of wealthier people will be given the opportunity to stay home and can take that opportunity since they can afford to, but people that are struggling financially have to put themselves at risk in order to live. This pandemic shows that many people cannot afford to not work and will work whether they are already sick or can become sick. If everyone was able to make money by working from home, the spread of the virus would drop abruptly and allow for things to get back to normal. I do believe that this work from home idea is a great one and can help a lot of people, but it also does not suit everyone’s lifestyle or job. I really liked the quote by Ian Bogost in the article about how society has been longing for the quarantine. Many people complain on a day-to-day basis that they wish they could stay home and take some time to relax, so it is almost perfect that the pandemic allows them to do so. Other people said the same thing, but cannot stand to be in the house any longer than a day. Everyone is being urged to stay home and practice social distancing which clearly shows us the inequalities that we have within our societies, but yet there is little we can do to fix these issues during this pandemic.

  23. Wow This article says it all. It was written March 5, 2020 and today is April 8, 2020 and we all are still in quarantine relying on the internet to access the outside world for a sense of norm. A lot has changed in the last month for us all, as a result of the Corona-virus pandemic. The United States is among the countries that are in sorts of disarray. I myself have so many mixed emotions about the whole situation. When I first heard about what was going on in China, I wasn’t sure what I should think or what to expect to be perfectly honest. However, the thought did cross my mind that there would be repercussions as a result of what was going on. I honestly thought my imagination was getting the best of me. I wasn’t concerned as much economically with the United States receiving goods from China as much as I was concerned with people traveling to see their families in honor of the Holidays. I was always under the impression some areas of China closed for 3 to 5 weeks as to honor the Chinese New Year to spend time with family as of a result of strong tradition and honor. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would get to this point.
    I would like to consider myself somebody who has a strong sense of analytical thinking However Once I got notice the schools were going to remote learning for the remaining of the semester and the numbers of COVID-19 we’re soaring emotion set in and all that analytical mental reasoning went out the window. As an adult with dependence, with a lot of responsibilities, I had to pull it together. It was time to put my big girl panties on and pull it together. The transition of doing things is not easy however, thank god for the Internet. For most of us our lives are not coming to a screaming halt for the others my heart is extremely heavy. We are far from leaving the curve and have no idea what the future brings. But I do find comfort in having access to technology that provides internet connections to outside resources. It is a sense of norm in a world of disarray.

  24. Marijuana legalization has been a trend for sometime now. I think it really should be legal because of the benefits it gives to the economy. Marijuana can be used in various ways to drive the economy to grow. The interesting question surrounding legalization of marijuana is are employees going to be allowed to consume before or while at work. This question is as tricky as it sounds. I feel that depending on the kind of job, there should be rules and regulations that clarify whether that job role must avoid consumption. This allows an employee to know ahead of time before choosing to work that job.
    The article portrays an example like a truck driver. This truck driver is intoxicated on the job. He gets into an accident and is charged for it. His employer is affected as well. The problem here is the employer has to follow federal transportation regulations even if that is different from the state law. Another example is the state of Colorado which allows the use of marijuana. The assembly man, Jovan Melton, is attempting to have the bill he proposed passed. This bill would allow employees to have a safety net from employers who might have grudges on marijuana usage. The bill “prohibits any employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law”(Moran). I feel this is a good thing because people will not lose a chance to get a job and overall it will increase job searches and employment rate goes up. How do you think this bill would impact the economy? Would it make unemployment decrease? Would it make employment increase?

  25. The concept of a “digital underclass” is something that I have never heard of before and it was really eye-opening to read about. Right now, we so often only think about how this technology has benefitted those who no longer need to leave their homes for things like groceries. However, we seem to forget that this is not a one-sided transaction; there are people on the other side that are alleviating your risk of grocery shopping by taking it on themselves, and right now its usually the people that need the money that are doing so. These people are continuing or starting to work these now essential jobs because they are facing a situation in which they don’t have any other choice, even if it is putting themselves and their loved ones at risk. The article again opened my eyes to the concept that the tech creators in Silicon Valley were creating products geared toward a certain group of people, themselves. A lot of the products are aimed towards consumers who are upper-middle-class men and the goal is to solve problems similar to the ones that they face. This not only doesn’t address the problems of other groups, but it actually creates them too. As the article points out, this increase in convenience for them has led to dangerous working conditions and serious environmental concerns due to same-day shipping. These big tech companies were prepared to have their workers move to working from home, but not everyone has this privilege. While there will likely be an increase in those working from home jobs, those who are lucky enough to do so should be conscientious and mindful of their extra time. The article suggests supporting local businesses and even volunteering as ways to be involved in the community and I also think that a little gratitude can go a long way.

  26. This has been something I have been thinking about since this virus began. I personally love being at home, since it has allowed me to complete most of my academic work in the comfort of my own room, rather than in the cold, blank classrooms on campus. I have been able to wake up much later for my classes and indulge in many of the same luxuries listed in this article. For example, my diet has been slowly devolving into a mix of delivered pizzas and chicken tenders since this virus began. Despite these benefits, the article does raise an interesting point about how these new luxuries may come at a cost. My friend works for Door Dash on the side, and he seems to enjoy getting a few extra dollars to spend on the weekends, however that seems to be the only benefit to such a job structure. It gives young people the opportunity to make some quick cash in exchange for a small amount of work. The consequences come when large portions of the economy begin to rely on this model. With gig jobs like this, there is no mobility. Someone working for Door Dash today might have been working a factory job 100 years ago for better pay and much more financial security than they have now. The reality is that those jobs no longer exist. It is important to think about how this technology revolution we are currently experiencing has eliminated virtually all the rungs at the lower portion of the economic latter, and only jobs like door dash remain. This pandemic and the resulting lockdown have expediated the creation of jobs like Door Dash, but they have also harmed local businesses. For example, my friends and I used to visit a local pizza place before this pandemic began. We have only recently started to come back, only to find out that the owner has been struggling to make ends meet under the weight of the restrictions put in place by the state. Small businesses like my local pizza place are the ones facing the most difficulty under the current situation. Big businesses like Amazon may flourish under the current restrictions, but will the world really be a better place if they are the only ones that remain? I think the author of this article is correct in their assessment that the answer lies in government regulation. The government had to intervene in order to ensure workers were protected in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, therefore, it only stands to reason that a similar action is necessary in the wake of the Digital Revolution.

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