With the COVID-19 pandemic currently underway, hospitals and government officials everywhere are attempting to properly distribute medical supplies. Oftentimes, this can lead some to question who “deserves” which supplies, occasionally putting a moral swing on the issue. Recently, claims were made to the public that ventilators (an essential device for hospitals dealing with the respiratory issues of the virus) were being hoarded by New York hospitals. This claim was made by President Trump during a recent press report, as he again shows the public his disdain for the government officials of New York, like Governor Cuomo. After this claim was made, the Governor responded by explaining how hospitals plan ahead for emergencies, and how those ventilators are allotted as “extra” because they continue to receive new cases every day. Ultimately, we can see both capital and legislation being placed ahead of sound medical recommendations in the handling of this pandemic.
When facing social issues that require the community to act cooperatively as a whole, the United States is forced to work around privatized systems (capital) in addition to the government (legislation). With the Defense Production Act being implemented recently for ventilator production, we are seeing how new methods of distributing goods will work during these difficult times. The distribution of essential goods among the community under this act would, ideally, minimize the effects of capital on this pandemic not being handled more professionally. However, we will still likely see the President attempting to withhold funds from New York, since they will not bow to him politically. Troubling or not, we can see a clear example of the type of obstructive behaviors government officials can do to slow legislation in their favor (at the detriment of the community).
With the United States facing large and mobile populations of individuals to protect from illness, the country is beginning to feel the effects of its “capital-first” motivations during the construction of its communities. As stated in our lesson, this results in large-scale structures strewn across the landscape that is not conducive to a sense of community. Additionally, bolstering public services and emergency-related needs is not always considered until they are actually needed, which is often too late. Overall, we are seeing why we should be putting greater effort towards building communities for wellbeing instead of capital. The addition of both scale (large) and speed (mobile) as time progresses results in new communities with growing needs, presumably unable to be met by our current capitalist-driven social structures.
Online communities can provide sources of both support and harm, and are a largely untapped source of social influence. Negative experiences on the internet, including viewing the President giving incorrect press statements, can influence the spread of misinformation. During an important time like this crisis, the influence of online communities is more important than ever. The disorderly situation regarding social services is mirrored by the internet, leaving both positive and negative experiences open to be experienced by users. During these times we will likely see how well individuals form purely-online communities (due to social distancing recommendations) as well as receive reliable information on the virus.