Being safe is a privilege

Taking a look at the privilege we have during a pandemic, some COVID advice, free e-books, spiritual challenges, examining hoaxes, and food waste

Hi friend,

Another week past. Another week of the coronavirus ravaging our world.

As we take a look at which communities have been hit the hardest, it has been ethnic, low-income minority neighborhoods all around the world.

In London, a third of the patients are ethnic minorities.

In Chicago, 70% of the COVID-19 Deaths are Black.

And in New York City, the novel coronavirus has hurt low-income and ethnic neighborhoods the most. Out of all the boroughs in New York City, the most affluent, Manhattan, has the least number of cases.

But is this surprising?

The reality is, staying healthy during a pandemic is a privilege that many of us take for granted.

It is a privilege to afford healthcare in this country. Every month, Oscar charges me $545.44 for their lowest healthcare plan with an insanely high deductible to cover catastrophic events. In New York City, making more than $24,000 a year disqualifies an applicant from any healthcare subsidiaries. Middle-class workers are forced to decide between healthcare premiums or paying for rent in a city with skyrocketing prices.

It is a privilege to practice social distancing, especially within our own homes. To afford our own space, our own room, and our own bed is a luxury that most middle and low-income families don't have the opportunity to relish. When someone at home becomes sick, the lack of free space directly contributes to the spread of the virus.

It is a privilege to have the money to afford to stock up on food and supplies, but even more than that, to stay afloat amidst unemployment and uncertainty. When households are left without a stream of income, family members are left with no option but to venture out and find ways of making rent, feeding starving bellies, and staying clean.

And it is a privilege to have access to news. Not only that but also having the education to discern biased media becomes paramount in sifting through what is also a pandemic of headlines on the internet. I've had to set aside many of my favorite news sources as they have become inundated with shock-factor headlines. (I am primarily getting my news right now through Reddit, crowd-sourced news platform. I highly recommend r/Coronavirus)

At this point - I don't know what is more devastating. The thousands of lives that are lost every day or the fact that we as a nation let it get this bad. Regardless of our current president, our broken healthcare system, limited protective supplies, short-staffing of medical workers, and egregious insurance system reflects a torn society. If we cannot stand for and protect our own health, then what are we living for?

My advice for this week:

Stay safe and healthy.

Another day finished is another day closer to the end of this pandemic. I am sending you so much love.


Free e-books

Recently, Archive.org dropped a massive list of e-books freely downloadable for everyone to read during this pandemic. In my earnest opinion, knowledge should be freely accessible to those who seek it without monetary barriers. (Without pirated Adobe Photoshop as a child, I would not have a career and passion for creating digital products)

I'm going to one-up this for you. 

Head on over to Library Genesis. Here, you can find even the most recent e-books freely available for download. You'll also want to download an e-book manager to upload books to your Kindle, like Calibre.

But if you do have the means to support local bookstores and authors, I highly recommend using IndieBound to find a local bookseller and checking to see if they offer online ordering. Authors rely on book sales to support their future writing, and buying from local booksellers directly impacts publishing. If it were not for local booksellers, some of the up-and-coming authors would never have had a platform to become a writer.

A talk on trying times

I really enjoyed this chat on spiritual challenges and opportunities with Byron Katie and Jack Kornfield, two mindfulness instructors that I deeply respect. They share insights on mindfulness amidst the current issues with COVID-19, Trump, and so many other things.

Is this a hoax?

In a survey done a few weeks ago, nearly a third of Americans believe a conspiracy theory about the origins of the coronavirus.

According to Pew, respondents with a high school diploma or less education, as well as respondents identifying as black and Latinx, were more likely to believe humans made COVID-19...

All of these factors mean the Pew survey isn't just revealing conspiracy theories: It's saying that those who believe misinformation about the virus are also the people most likely to be harmed by the pandemic.

It says that despite most people trusting media to deliver them accurate facts, those most vulnerable to COVID-19 still aren't getting all the information they need. This is particularly concerning given skepticism over coronavirus has already wreaked havoc on some states' efforts to battle the pandemic, and because limiting the spread of the virus requires not just government action, but action on the individual level. And that is why it is incumbent on the media to get accurate information out — about how the virus started, and about how to curb it. Because making sure people have access to the clearest, most correct, up-to-date information is literally a matter of life or death.

Farms are dumping their foods

Even as Mr. Allen and other farmers have been plowing fresh vegetables into the soil, they have had to plant the same crop again, hoping the economy will have restarted by the time the next batch of vegetables is ready to harvest. But if the food service industry remains closed, then those crops, too, may have to be destroyed.

Farmers are also learning in real time about the nation's consumption habits.

The quarantines have shown just how many more vegetables Americans eat when meals are prepared for them in restaurants than when they have to cook for themselves.

The NY Times reports: Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic

As always, thanks for reading!

P.S. If you enjoyed this, share or sign up here: mindfulmoments.substack.com

Anything else? You can always hit "reply" to email me directly. 💌

Have a beautiful day!

Metta (loving-kindness),
Steven

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