n a matter of five months, 47-year-old Aquanna Quarles saw her personal finances implode. In December, she totaled her car. In February, the car she replaced the totaled one with was stolen. And in early March, her kitchen flooded, destroying the food in her cabinets and the small appliances on top of them. Quarles remembers thinking, “Oh my God, like what else could go wrong?”
Then the novel coronavirus began spreading across the United States. In mid-March, the state of Ohio, where Quarles lives, began issuing stay-at-home orders, shuttering shops and businesses, and by the end of the month, the rest of the country had followed suit, pushing millions of Americans out of work. Quarles, who works for a home health care company doing both office work and caring for elderly and disabled individuals, saw her hours—and weekly earnings—cut in half.