And that’s actually the easy part: The coronavirus outbreak is taking a huge psychological toll, separating us from one another when we need community most, and fraying a social-safety net that was bare bones to begin with. With public-health experts unable to predict exactly how long this crisis will last, there’s only one thing that’s certain: We’re in uncharted territory.
Need a distraction? Here are five things you can do to bring some light to the world right now:
- The last thing people need to worry about is their internet bill. Phone and internet companies shouldn’t be raking in profits during the coronavirus outbreak without doing anything to help the people who are most at risk. Tell the big telecoms to waive internet and phone bills and stop using data caps during this crisis.
- Trump and his enablers — not to mention right-wing propaganda machine Fox News — are busy spreading misinformation about the virus. These lies are putting millions of people’s lives on the line. We need trustworthy news and information more than ever … but Trump’s budget proposal would zero out all public-media funding over the next two years. Urge Congress to reject these devastating cuts.
- People who are incarcerated are among the most vulnerable populations right now. Many lack access to basic health care and hygiene products under the best of circumstances, and that trend is likely to worsen in light of mass nationwide shortages of essentials like toilet paper. It’s more important than ever for people who are in prison to preserve contact with their loved ones. Tell your senators to stop prison-phone companies from exploiting families trying to stay connected.
- Since 2017, the Trump FCC has been doing everything it can to sabotage the Lifeline program, which provides a modest subsidy to help people living on low incomes afford lifesaving phone and internet services. Without Lifeline, millions of people — including families, the elderly and people with disabilities — won’t be able to stay connected. Urge the FCC to stop attacking Lifeline.
- The Net Neutrality fight has had more ups and downs than a reality-TV romance. And in the fall, a federal appeals court largely upheld the FCC’s decision to destroy the open-internet rules. But there’s hope: The Save the Internet Act would restore those protections. It’s already passed the House but is currently stuck in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s self-described legislative graveyard. Urge your senators to ramp up the pressure on McConnell and pass the Save the Internet Act today.