Even before COVID-19, New York was already defined by a gap between the rich and poor. Yet during the pandemic, wealth has become a determinant of survival.
The pandemic hit New York in the spring, with almost 800 people dying from COVID-19 each day in April. The city has been uneasy since then. People’s lives have been shaken by months of stay-at-home orders, changing public health measures, “Black Lives Matter” protests, the presidential election, and above all the economic consequences of the pandemic, including ever-widening inequality between New Yorkers.
Stefanie Dodt and Christiane Meier are the creators of “New York City Rich and Poor – The Inequality Crisis.” They spent more than eight months following the lives of three New York families who inhabit the different strata of New York society – the bottom, the top and the middle.
The documentary links this long period of observation with intensive data research and analysis and shows why, long before COVID-19, it was clear who the disease would hit hardest. The boundaries between rich and poor are often clearly defined by neighborhoods. Where a person lives determines their risk of becoming infected with the virus, and health has become more of a luxury than ever. The pandemic is spotlighting the scale and consequences of economic inequality in America. In New York, a city of extremes, the emphasis is white hot – and reflects in brash New York style the structural problems all of America is facing as COVID-19 further amplifies inequality.
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