While the coronavirus pandemic is a threat to everyone, it is placing disproportionate stress on the poorest and most vulnerable people in our country, and will almost certainly intensify already enormous inequalities in our society.

"The differential impacts of the coronavirus can be mitigated dramatically through inclusive policies, contextually sensitive interventions, targeted and adequate financial assistance, and acts of kindness and compassion."
Read the full letter by Richard Matthew, UCI Blum Center Director

A new UNU report, Estimates of the Impact of COVID-19 on Global Poverty, predicts that COVID-19 has the potential to push as many as 500 million people into poverty, reversing the gains of the last 30 years.

In response to this, Oxfam has just released a call to action, Dignity not Destitution, making the case for a $2.5 trillion investment into protecting the poor from COVID-19 through debt relief and increased aid.

Our research at the Blum Center is validating the general findings of work done elsewhere in the United States, suggesting that crises tend to result in greater resilience for the rich, and greater vulnerability for the poor. We need to take serious action here and abroad to help our most vulnerable communities navigate an unprecedented period of global stress, one that will last for months and possibly for years.

Articles & Stories

What’s next: The future of compassion

Interview with Richard Matthew

How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics

WIRED article with commentary from Richard Matthew

Coronavirus spotlights the link between clean water and health

Op-Ed by David Feldman published on The Conversation

The Rich Really Are Different. They Can Shelter In Nicer Places

NPR story including commentary from Paul Piff

Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty by coronavirus, warns Oxfam | Press Release

How Can We Help One Another? Article featuring commentary from Paul Piff | New York Times

"Early numbers indicate that Covid-19 hospitalizes and kills more men than women. But in terms of its total impact on people’s lives, the virus will hurt women and girls most—especially in the poorest countries, but in the United States, too." | Politico

Working Paper: Estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty | United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research

"Without space to self-isolate, a private car and a job that can be performed remotely, the chances of infection necessarily increase." | The Economist

"According to a 2019 Federal Reserve study, 40% of Americans could not come up with $400 to cover an emergency. Lacking resources to prepare and protect against the COVID-19, many of these individuals face a higher risk of contracting—and subsequently spreading—the virus." | Time

“As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, it appears to be setting off a devastating feedback loop with another of the gravest forces of our time: economic inequality.” | New York Times

“The economic shutdown is hitting the poor and working class with the most force, especially in cities with growing income gaps and disproportionately high homeless populations.” | Wall Street Journal

“The coronavirus pandemic has now reached every U.S. state. In addition to posing public health challenges, the outbreak has prompted mass closures of schools and businesses and is straining resources. Here are ways to help in your community.” | Washington Post

UCI Guidance and Updates

UCI is closely monitoring the coronavirus ("COVID-19") situation and associated communications from the county, state and federal authorities. See all campus messages, latest updates, and information about campus services:

Community Resources

General Relief/Assistance

Resource list from the OC Health Care Agency

City of Irvine

Information and resources from the City of Irvine

California Response

Resources and information from the State of California

Volunteer Resources

A list of ways Californians can safely help their community

Education Resources

Earth School: Students connecting to nature in the time of COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, an unprecedented coalition has come together to launch “Earth School,” which provides free, high-quality educational content to help students, parents and teachers around the world who are currently at home. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, Earth School takes students on a 30-day “Adventure” through the natural world.

Campus Resources

Coronavirus Updates for the UCI Community

Answers to frequently asked questions and guidance for UCI students, staff, and faculty.

FRESH Basic Needs Hub

Access to grocery support, emergency meal swipes program, and consultations with the Basic Needs Campus Social Worker.

UCI Counseling Center

Access to telebehavioral health services supporting well-being.

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