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COVID Is Not Stalking The Vulnerable

There’s a narrative that’s slipped into usage in the daily 1pm media updates - that “COVID is seeking out the vulnerable.”

It is not. The COVID-19 coronavirus cannot distinguish between postcodes, ethnicity or socio-economic distinctions – or any other demographic. Are the vulnerable communities of Aotearoa New Zealand more at risk? Absolutely. That’s because of the societal infrastructure that has become embedded in this country over decades. Years of less-than-liveable incomes, lack of secure, safe and affordable housing, and rapidly declining access to affordable nutritious food are behind the vulnerability of a growing number of New Zealanders.

While the talk of a vulnerability-stalking virus may be an attempt to encourage those most at risk to get vaccinated, it’s not accurate and it’s not helpful.

It’s understandable that the focus of the nation’s decisionmakers is on the battle against COVID-19. The battle is real. But so are the inequalities in our society that sees the poor and vulnerable paying a bigger price than everyone else. It’s time to stop imbuing COVID-19 with attributes it doesn’t have. It’s time to get real about fixing the infrastructure of inequality: liveable incomes; quality, genuinely affordable housing; access to nutritious, affordable food – for all. Bringing forward the slated 2022 benefit increases to this side of Christmas would be one good step forward.

 

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