Tests For The Rich, Not For The Rest: The Pandemic Highlights The Class Divide

Ershai Matambanadzo, Copy Editor

Who is safe from a pandemic? Throughout the plethora of information about COVID-19, it is known that the elderly and the immunocompromised are highly susceptible to the virus and at greatest risk of death. In the American healthcare system, an even greater number of people are at risk of contracting the illness, and not receiving testing, treatment, or protective equipment. It seems, however, that the wealthy, celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and others with large amounts of money to their name, find access to these scare items with ease. Why is that? 

Despite the United States containing the largest amount of COVID-19 cases in the world, America lacks globally in testing per capita. As of now, the United States is not conducting enough tests to adequately separate and treat infected patients to prevent the spread of the virus. Oftentimes when individuals are concerned about their health or possible contraction of the virus, hundreds to thousands are turned away from testing centers, receive their results in an extended period of time (several days), don’t have the protective equipment to prevent further spread of the disease, or are unable to receive treatment.  

Despite the scarcity of testing kits, asymptomatic celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and the extremely wealthy are having COVID-19 tests made easily accessible, and results quickly received within several hours. Even in a global pandemic, threatening hundreds of thousands of immunocompromised and highly susceptible individuals, money is buying over the need for adequate testing. 

Not only does the high accessibility of testing and treatment available to the wealthy expose the overall corruption of the American healthcare system, but it also poses a threat to national and even global safety. If symptomatic individuals are being turned away from testing centers or denied treatment due to scarcity, those same individuals could possibly spread the virus even further. 

This isn’t to say that if an individual is asymptomatic and concerned about their health, they shouldn’t be tested. However, this does show that in the United States, even in the midst of a pandemic, healthcare is a privilege available to only those who can afford it.