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American Households Were Slowly Getting Back To Normal. Then Delta Hit.

A person files an application for unemployment benefits in Arlington, Virginia.
A person files an application for unemployment benefits in Arlington, Virginia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to many American households. Kids without Internet access had a hard time logging on to learn remotely. Families without health insurance struggled to afford medical care.

By now, some experts predicted these problems would already be subsiding. But a new study from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows how the Delta variant extended many of those problems.

The results show a sharp income divide. Households with annual incomes below $50,000 were much more likely to have serious financial problems and to struggle to afford medical care. This was despite 67 percent of the households in the survey receiving federal assistance.

Half of the households surveyed by NPR reported serious problems with depression, anxiety, stress, or sleep in the past few months.

Most households said their children fell behind in school and that they would likely struggle to catch up this school year.

We talk about these results and other takeaways from the survey.

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