'Lot of fear': Coronavirus pandemic compounds dire situation for poor Americans

NPP Pressroom

ABC News
Bill Hutchinson

"What happens whenever you have epidemics and pandemics is they expose the already existing inequities in our society, the things we didn’t address before the epidemic," Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the nonprofit Poor People's Campaign, which advocates for economic justice, told ABC News. "What we are seeing around the country is that we're operating and telling people to do things from the position of wealth. We say, 'Go home and buy groceries.' Well, if people weren’t making a living wage how are they going to do that? Most of them don’t have $300 in the bank, if that."

An audit by the Poor People’s Campaign in partnership with the Institute for Policy Studies shows that even before the coronavirus crisis, there were 140 million poor to low-wealth Americans who could not afford a $400 economic emergency. A 2018 U.S. Census Bureau report showed that 38.1 million Americans were living in poverty -- about $16,900 in annual income or less for a two-person household.

Read the full article at ABC News.