Saturday, August 22, 2020

Workers and the Pandemic

 Bal Harbour, Florida,  has emerged mostly unscathed from the pandemic. According to the Florida department of health, 49 of 3,039 Bal Harbour residents had tested positive through 8 August. Surfside, with a population of 5,802, also has 49 cases. Bay Harbor has recorded 45 cases in a village of 5,553 people. And 22 residents in Sunny Isles Beach, home to 20,832 people, have tested positive.

Roughly 8.5% of the 238,942 residents of Hialeah, the second largest municipality in Miami-Dade, have tested positive for Covid-19. The city’s 20,261 cases is the fourth-most of any city in Florida. Indeed, Hialeah has hit a crisis point. 

In between Bal Harbour and Hialeah, some of Miami’s historically low income, African American neighborhoods have also been hit hard. In Allapattah, Brownsville, Liberty City and Little River, 7,313 residents have contracted coronavirus, according to the Florida department of health’s most recent daily report.

Dr Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist and the Florida state lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare, said wealthy municipalities like Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Surfside and Sunny Isles Beach are largely segregated from the rest of Miami-Dade.

“You are seeing the distinction between the haves and the have-nots,” Ashby said. “If you look at all the negative indicators of this virus, it directly correlates with a person’s race and socioeconomic status.” 

The pandemic has accelerated the wealth gap while having a disproportionate impact on middle- to low-income workers whose jobs dictate they show up.

 The city’s residents are also most likely working jobs that requires them to be there physically, said Dr Mona Mangat, a physician based in St Petersburg who is also a member of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

“If we look specifically at the makeup of these communities, they tend to do more frontline jobs, so they are more likely to be exposed,” Mangat said. “More than likely they do not have access to consistent healthcare.

Despite Miami-Dade being a coronavirus hot zone, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbour Islands and Surfside are still attracting high net worth buyers from New York and other parts of the north-east. These people can isolate themselves from the world in multimillion-dollar waterfront condos and single family homes.

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