The millions of people who cannot afford to self-isolate face a choice between Covid compliance and financial devastation

Lockdowns only work if they reduce transmission. And transmission only reduces if those who are sick self-isolate. But what if that comes at too great a cost? The millions of people who cannot afford to self-isolate face a choice between financial devastation and compliance. By not providing proper support, the government is forcing people to decide between their families and their communities. This choice is cruel. And it is avoidable.

The evidence is clear that Covid-19 disparities are driven by differences in exposure both at home and at work. Those of lower socioeconomic status are hit hardest by both the virus and the collateral damage of restrictions. In lockdown, almost all risk is shifted on to the 10 million key workers who cannot work from home, as well as those living in deprived areas and overcrowded houses – two groups that often overlap.

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