For the longest time, Chile has been one of those countries where inequality has reigned unchecked. The masses, finally done with the elite having every possible amenity, had been protesting against this injustice for the past six months and it was not the fear of repercussions of going against the government but the pandemic that halted their campaigns as the nations observes a stay-at-home order. 

And while it is true that coronavirus doesn’t differentiate on the basis of who is poor or wealthy, the still existing gap between the classes decides whether they will get the needed healthcare facilities in time. 

So, now along with the chances of availing good education, a proper wage, and getting access to the healthcare system on normal days, the pandemic has trained the light on another inequality the non-elite face, who are already burdened with the brunt of the economy weakening.

Thirty percent of Chile’s workforce is struggling to make ends meet as the government mutely witnesses their fate. This is when the original focal point of the pandemic had been the wealthy parts of the nation but owing to the imbalanced distribution and provision of facilities, the pooer neighborhoods have been left to battle it alone. 

“The social movement exploded into life because everything that we had been led to believe about progress and wellbeing turned out to an elaborate facade,” said the columnist Óscar Contardo. “Judging by how the system handled the political crisis, I don’t think that the eventual outcome of the pandemic will be particularly ethical or democratic.”

As of now, even though the number of confirmed cases is 20,643 with 270 deaths, the inadequate healthcare system is afraid that it won’t be able to withstand a sudden spike, especially the underfunded public health system in comparison to the private hospitals. 

“The gulf between the public and private health systems needs to be totally rethought,” said Alejandra Fuentes-García, a sociologist at the University of Chile’s school of public health. “This is a great opportunity to build a health service with a single funding source that covers everybody – and heals the rifts between the rich and poor in terms of access and quality of care.

“When this is over and people return to the streets, we are going to see a greater emphasis on healthcare at the protests because this crisis will deepen the inequalities,” she added.

Chile Protests Students gather to demand education reform in Chile. screen shot