White collar, blue collar Americans divided on COVID-19 lockdown
“If this keeps going on, people won’t have any money,” Ron told Xinhua.
He added that if people are broke, there could be a surge in crime — something that would make his job difficult and dangerous.
He’s not alone in his concerns over the state of the economy, as millions of Americans are being furloughed or outright laid off amid the lockdown triggered by the novel coronavirus.
Many of these are blue collar workers, who tend to have jobs in which they must physically be present — factory workers, hair stylists, waiters and bartenders — as opposed to white collar workers, who can usually work from home.
Indeed, a sharp difference in the two groups’ attitudes toward the lockdown has appeared. While many white collar Americans don’t mind it, blue collar workers want the economy to reopen now.
White collar workers, such as attorneys and employees at major corporations, favor the lockdown. Most have been able to keep their jobs and are working at home. Many said it’s comfortable working at home, and they enjoy more fresh air and exercise than usual, so they support the government’s stay-at-home mandate.
However, Anita, a chiropractor who is now only working part time because most of her clients have canceled their appointments, dismissed the public’s fear. She told Xinhua that if people are healthy and not elderly, there’s no reason to fear the virus.
The young and healthy should be able to go back to work, she said, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s statements that the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths are elderly people and those with compromised immune systems.
Many states are now making efforts to reopen, albeit slowly, with guidelines requiring businesses, such as restaurants, to operate at 50 percent capacity and maintain social distancing guidelines.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States topped 60,000 on Wednesday afternoon, reaching 60,207 as of 4 p.m. (2000 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
A total of 1,030,487 cases have been reported in the country, according to the CSSE.
The state of New York suffered the most, with 299,691 cases and 23,384 deaths. Other hardest-hit states included New Jersey with 6,771 deaths, Michigan with 3,673 deaths and Massachusetts with 3,153 deaths, the data showed.