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The Duwara Consciousness Foundation gives out free meals to homeless residents in downtown during the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

These days, I’m most often in my car solely to move it from the garage to the street so I can do a sad garage workout on my phone – but it’s usually long enough to hear several radio missives about how we’re all “in this together” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The longer the crisis rages on, though, the clearer it becomes that like with all disasters, we don’t experience the impact of the virus equally.

The Washington Post, for instance, published stunning statistics highlighting that black Americans are being infected and killed at rates higher than the general population.

Closer to home, we’ve already seen the impacts land disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable San Diegans.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has expressed concern that park and beach closures could impact low-income families living in apartments and small spaces who depend on access to those resources to exercise.

VOSD’s reporting has shown that San Diegans who live in rural areas are less likely to have access to broadband internet, which we all depend on more than ever not just for entertainment but to work from home, access telemedicine and for children to complete schoolwork that has moved entirely online.

When it comes to online schoolwork in particular, Will Huntsberry reported the results of a survey this week in which 72 percent of San Diego respondents who identified as low-income said they lack sufficient devices to access online learning. That’s an astoundingly high number, especially considering only 23 percent of white respondents and 39 percent who are not low-income answered that way.

Then there’s the fact that some San Diegans are quite literally starving as a result of the pandemic.

Homeless-serving organizations have long scolded groups that do makeshift food distribution efforts to the homeless. But now that those efforts have stopped amid the coronavirus, homeless residents are going desperately hungry. And the same organizations that condemned the efforts are now scrambling to replace them.

I so appreciate the sentiment that we’re all “in this together,” and if I’m being honest, these days I’m reduced to a puddle of tears at even the smallest acts of kindness people have shown me – a coworker who mailed a sweet note to my house, the neighbors who left some beer on our porch and texted “Cheers!” – but it’s still important to remember (and for journalists to investigate) the ways in which this crisis is hitting certain groups harder. None of us has been spared inconvenience or a change to our way of life, but some of us have endured far worse suffering and injustice than others.

What VOSD Learned This Week

We’re still only getting first glimpses of how the coronavirus will ultimately impact the economy in San Diego and beyond. Some governments, including the city of San Diego, are considering moving to quarterly budgets to address the uncertainty. We discussed what the city of San Diego is weighing with its budget on the podcast. Businesses whose landlords are the city or the Port of San Diego say the relief measures on the table might not be enough to help them weather the storm. The crisis has decimated several San Diego media outlets. And officials are scrambling to ensure the already slow home-building process doesn’t get any slower.

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Homeless-serving organizations have long scolded groups that do makeshift food distribution efforts to the homeless. But now that those efforts have stopped amid the coronavirus, homeless residents are going desperately hungry. And the same organizations that condemned the efforts are now scrambling to replace them.

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Arguably Sen. Toni Atkins’ biggest achievement in state government was passing SB 2 in 2017, which secured a permanent stream of funding for affordable housing. Ashly McGlone checked in on those funds and found they’ve been slow to get to the governments and agencies that need them. Meanwhile, state legislators will soon begin committee hearings to vet how the state is spending emergency coronavirus funds – some of which have already started flowing to San Diego.

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Then there’s how the virus itself is impacting San Diegans. Will Huntsberry crunched the numbers and found San Diego’s curve does appear to be flattening. And though this all seems very strange and new, this isn’t San Diego’s first go-round with a pandemic.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“First of all, Trump is very lazy. I can tell you, the same way basketball players say, ‘game recognizes game,’ sloth recognizes sloth.” – Fran Lebowitz is a delightful sloth.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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