Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


During late 2019, reports emerged that a mysterious coronavirus was resulting in high contagion and many deaths in Wuhan, China. In just a few weeks, cases rose quickly in Seattle, spread to California, and the first in- stance of the virus appeared in New York (from Iran) on March 1, 2020. As the months pass, it is abundantly clear that less wealthy Americans have far fewer options amid the new normal of shelter-in-place orders, school closings, and shuttered businesses. For example, the poor and other populations may be genetically pre-disposed to heart disease and diabetic issues, but poverty also dictates cheaper diets high in carbohydrates (macaroni and cheese, pasta, rice, etc.) and more likely to result in poor nutrition. COVID-19 lays bare the fundamental racism in U.S. culture and public pol- icy, but the virus does not care about personal wealth, religion, or race. Enlightened self-interest dictates that we take care of the least fortunate among us. From a global perspective, COVID-19 is an issue that impacts and threatens us all. Census data reveals that sixty percent of Black Americans (42.5 million) live in just ten U.S. states. Is the super concentration of Black Americans in cities a factor in the disease ratios? Hyper-exposure to fast-food and sugary drinks is genuinely a factor in obesity and diabetes in old age. People use words such as apocalyptic to describe the 2020 American pandemic experience. As year 2021 begins, over 400,000 U.S. deaths have been reported and it is obvious that the U.S. caseload leads the world with over 25 million infected.