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For the good of all, but first…?

16 March 2020

“Self-isolation” may indeed be an excellent means of lowering the number of coronavirus infections, but being able to do so (and thankfully, I can) requires having not just the financial ability to lay in supplies for a month or so, but the space to store it, and the facilities at home to live a normal life.

For a time, I lived in a “cuarto amueblado”… furnished room… where I paid by the week, and there was a communal bathroom, and, somewhere in that complex, a kitchen that could be used.  My neighbors had to scramble just to cover the rent (many were the so called “informal workers” whose income varied day by day).  How are they to buy a month’s worth of food, keep perishables, or even store more than a roll or two of toilet paper in a 2.5 x 2.5 meter room?

And, if one is in the informal workforce, who is paying when most businesses are shut down, and there aren’t customers for the small vendors on the streets?

No idea of the numbers, but there are thousands, and maybe tens of thousands of people here who live in cuartos, or hotel rooms, or rooftop storage units rented out by the month or week who buy their meals by the day, and more (probably several million) in this city without the financial means to simply stay at home for a month.

Despite the exponential growth n the number of private autos on the road here in Mexico City, most of us still use, or need to use, public transit.  If small shops and mercados need to close, how will those of us with mobility issues get our supplies in the first place?

What are families with limited resources to do with kids home for an extra couple of weeks?

Where is the place to stay in place if you have no place?

Is the response “the greatest good for the greatest number” really taking care of the “greatest number”, or are the assumptions about “staying in place” an echo of what is done in places not having the same social issues as here (or not in the same number of affected people), not considering the realities of life here?

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