Nineteen tragic facts about the COVID-19 economy in the US

September 18 demonstration in Chicago of some 1,000 workers poured into downtown Chicago. Over 4,000 University of Illinois at Chicago workers from SEIU Local 73 and 800 nurses, members of the Illinois Nurses Association, walked off the job demanding that administrators “respect us, protect us and pay us.” Nurses initially walked out Sept. 12 and were joined by thousands of Local 73 workers on Sept. 14. All were demanding safe working conditions, including sufficient personal protective equipment with increased staffing and a living wage.

By Bill Quigley, December 11, 2020

87 million.

87 million workers will lose federally mandated COVID sick leave at the end of December unless Congress acts to extend the law.

50 million.

50 million people are now facing hunger at least once a month, including 1 in 4 children.  The rate of adults who sometimes or often do not have enough to eat is double in Black and Latino homes, according to the Associated Press.

30 million.

30 million people are facing eviction as of December 31, 2020 when the current Centers for Disease Control moratorium on evictions ends. There has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of people paying their rent by credit card.

16 million.

16 million unemployed workers have already lost or will lose their federal unemployment benefits by December 26, 2020.  4.4 million people have already exhausted their federal benefits and another 12 million people stand to lose their unemployment benefits by December 26, 2020 unless Congress passes new laws, according to the Century Foundation.

12 million.    

As many as 12 million people who were entitled to the $1200 stimulus check never received it.

10 million.  

Two major national law firms and several national restaurant chains received $10 million dollars each from the Paycheck Protection Program.  More than 25 per cent of the $500 billion in aid went to just one percent of borrowers.

7 million.  

7 million more Americans, about 11 per cent, now live in poverty, than did months ago when the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program was operating.  NBC News.

2.2 million.   

Since January, 2.2 million women have lost or quit their jobs or are no longer looking for work because mothers have been forced to choose between caring for their children and their jobs.

1.5 million.   

Of the record high 1.5 million homeless children in the US, over 400,000 have dropped off their school’s radar during the pandemic. Education Week.

1.4 million.    

One million four hundred thousand children have tested positive for COVID. American Academy of Pediatrics.

110,000 .   

110,000 restaurants have closed permanently, according to the National Restaurant Association.


At least 106,000 nursing home residents and staff died from COVID as of early December, around 39 per cent of the overall deaths reported.  NBC News.

600 per cent.      

Failure rates in math and English jumped 600 per cent among low income students in some school districts recently in Maryland.  Nationally grade school students are falling significantly behind in math and the percentages may even be worse because a large percentage of students were not even present when testing was done.  Several states report that many fewer children enrolled back in school this fall than were there a year ago.

400 per cent.   

Covid 19 rates are 400 per cent higher in state and federal prisons than among the general public and the death rate is more than twice as high.  National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. 

400 per cent.

Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are four times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID than whites.  CNN.

200 per cent. 

The risk of being exposed to COVID at the grocery store is twice as high in low income neighborhoods as in high income neighborhoods.

37 per cent.        

African Americans are 37 per cent more likely to die from COVID than whites; Asians are 53 per cent more likely; Hispanics 16 per cent.

31 per cent.

There has been a 31 per cent increase in mental health emergency room visits for children since the pandemic began and an overall 24 per cent increase in emergency room visits for children. Centers for Disease Control.

16 per cent.

College applications are down 16 per cent from first generation students and lower income students.


In 13 states, the unemployment benefits provided fall below the federal poverty line of $245 a week according to the Government Accountability Office.

(Popular Resistance, December 11, 2020.)

Consequences of neo-liberal anti-social offensive during pandemic

Top 12 U.S. oligarchs’ combined wealth surpasses one trillion dollars during pandemic as of summer 2019

New research by the U.S. Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) shows that, since the beginning of the pandemic, the 12 top U.S. billionaires have seen their combined wealth soar by 40 per cent, or $283 billion, to more than $1 trillion.

It’s the first time in U.S. history that the collective net worth of the top 12 U.S. billionaires has topped the trillion dollar mark.

What the IPS terms the “Oligarchic Dozen” are Jeff Bezos ($189.4 billion), Bill Gates ($114 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($95.5 billion), Warren Buffett ($80 billion), Elon Musk ($73 billion), Steve Ballmer ($71 billion), Larry Ellison ($70.9 billion), Larry Page ($67.4 billion), Sergey Brin ($65.6 billion), Alice Walton ($62.5 billion), Jim Walton ($62.3 billion), and Rob Walton ($62 billion).

“This is a disturbing milestone in the U.S. history of concentrated wealth and power. This is simply too much economic and political power in the hands of 12 people. From the point of view of a democratic self-governing society, this represents an Oligarchic Twelve or a Despotic Dozen,” said the report.

IPS researchers Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo wrote, “During the first stage of the pandemic, between January 1 and March 18, the collective wealth of the Oligarchic Dozen declined by $96 billion. But their wealth quickly rebounded and surpassed their September 2019 Forbes 400 wealth level. The only exception is Warren Buffett, who is still $2 billion below his September 2019 wealth, but is currently worth $80 billion.”

The research showed that Elon Musk has been the biggest pandemic profiteer, seeing his wealth triple from $24.6 billion on March 18 to $73 billion on August 13 — an increase of $48.5 billion or 197 per cent.

Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos was worth $189.4 billion in August — up $76 billion or 68 per cent since March, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was worth $95.5 billion, having increased his worth by $40.8 billion or 75 per cent. “The total wealth of the Oligarchic Dozen is greater than the GDP of Belgium and Austria combined,” said Ocampo. æMeanwhile, tens of millions of Americans are unemployed or living paycheck to paycheck, and 170,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.’

(, August 19, 2020.)

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