A global pandemic is one of the worst imaginable times to lose your income. For an alarming number of people, that’s the immediate future they can expect.
Nearly 200,000 people have contracted covid-19, with the elderly and immunocompromised likely to experience the worst health outcomes. But with a catastrophe of this scale comes second- and third-order fallout: not just the flood of new patients to intensive care units leading to healthcare rationing, but the immediate impact that this virus and attempts to contain it have had on the global economy. Losing your life during this pandemic is a very real possibility, but so is losing your livelihood.
Some of you can’t work remotely and are living in areas that have been ordered to shelter in place. Some, like restaurant and gym workers here in New York, had your industries shuttered overnight by executive order. And some of you got fired for no reason at all, maybe because a capricious boss read the tea leaves of a crashing stock market and decided to cut down on staffing ahead of time. One early estimate puts expected job losses at 3 million by this summer.
Bailouts are being considered to prop up a variety impacted industries; France is suspending rent payments for small businesses. But a working-class stimulus package will be necessary, too—something more comprehensive than the smattering of moratoria on evictions and utility shutoffs.
That’s why we want to hear your stories:
The chef whose restaurant’s margins fell by half because dining in is no longer safe; the independently contracted gym instructor who now has no access to unemployment benefits; the doctor who’s worried her patient might catch the virus; the grocery store worker who’s worried he’ll bring it home to his own kids; the religious leader trying to calm their congregation over livestream; the Uber driver who can’t afford not to work; the lucky few who can do their work from home but have the secondary job of homeschooling on top of it; the Zoom developer trying to keep the world’s meetings from crashing; the Fox News PA whose boss was calling this pandemic a hoax even as people around them got sicker.
We want to publish how your livelihood has been impacted by this contagion. There are undoubtedly scenarios that we in the media and our elected leaders have not considered, and more are likely to emerge as this already grim situation stretches on.
Over 7,000 people have already died from covid-19. Nothing is going to make this painless. But if there’s any role we can play in advocating for policies that will alleviate preventable suffering, we’d like to do so with the best knowledge available.
To submit your story, please contact us at Gizmodo Australia. We’ll be in touch with you if we decide to publish your submission so we can verify certain details before we run your story. Submissions will be edited for length and clarity.