The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 23, 2021 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

Economic impact of COVID-19 becoming painfully apparent

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

COVID-19 created problems – so many problems. 

The continuing pandemic also made worse problems that already existed. Among them, families that were stressed financially saw further challenges after the coronavirus took hold. 

Indiana University researchers, analyzing a survey designed to study energy insecurity among more than 2,000 respondents, found that 25% of those who answered questions were unable to pay an energy bill within the past year and 10% had their power disconnected. Black and Hispanic households “were significantly more likely” than white households to have had utilities cut off, according to a news release announcing a study published this week in the journal “Nature Energy.”

Households where someone tested positive or had symptoms of COVID-19 were at greater risk of being unable to pay their bills, according to the study. 

“We already knew that certain populations were at a higher risk of not being able to pay an energy bill or having their power cut off, but our research demonstrates that COVID-19 made the problem much worse,” study co-author Sanya Carley said in a statement. “Many people who were struggling to meet their basic energy needs before the pandemic were the same people who were more likely to get the virus, more likely to experience economic hardship because of the virus, and less likely to receive a stimulus check that could have helped them pay their energy bills.”

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