Law;Family Law;Covid-19


In this Essay, we argue that the paradigm of the public/private distinction is implicitly operating as a primary frame in the public health response to the pandemic. The public/private distinction is particularly evident in the guidance around masking and other risk-mitigation policies and advice issued by public health agencies. This public health approach reifies the notion of the home as an exceptional private space that exists outside of the possibility of COVID-19 transmission, obscuring the reality of the high risk of transmission in some households.8 We argue that the manifestation of the public/private distinction in the COVID-19 response is deeply raced and classed as it ignores the high risks borne by essential workers, who are disproportionately lower-income workers of color, and their families. The reality is that many essential workers could not follow the primary advice offered over the course of the pandemic to stay at home and thus bore disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace and exposing family members at home.

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