Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special rapporteur for extreme poverty and human rights, said Thursday that the United States’ coronavirus response had neglected the most disadvantaged in the world’s richest country.
“Low-income and poor people face far higher risks from the coronavirus due to chronic neglect and discrimination, and a muddled, corporate-driven, federal response has failed them,” Mr. Alston said.
In a statement that reflected what other advocates for poor and minority populations in the United States have been saying, Mr. Alston argued that the coronavirus has especially victimized people with the weakest safety net.
“People in poverty are disproportionately threatened by the coronavirus,” Mr. Alston said. “They are more likely to work in jobs with a high risk of exposure, live in crowded and insecure housing, reside in neighborhoods that are more vulnerable because of air pollution, and lack access to health care.”
There was no immediate Trump administration response to the statement by Mr. Alston, a New York University professor who has aroused its anger before. He was the author of a 2017 study of endemic poverty in the United States, and has criticized what he has called the administration’s “contempt for the poor.” Mr. Alston also angered the Conservative-led government in Britain two years ago with a report that concluded its austerity measures had inflicted deep pain on the working poor there.
Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Human Rights Council in 2018 over what the American ambassador to the United Nations at the time, Nikki R. Haley, called the council’s brazen bias against Israel and failure to hold rights abusing members to account.
Reporting was contributed by Amy Qin, Paul Mozur, Rick Gladstone, David Halbfinger, Elaine Yu, Keith Bradsher, Kate Taylor and Ernesto Londoño.