What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Roads to Recovery: One community’s journey back from the economic brink

As vaccines slowly start to roll out and 2020 finally comes to a close, there are glimmers that the COVID-19 pandemic may eventually end. But with lingering social, economic, and public health damage, PBS NewsHour Weekend is launching a series homing in on how one place -- Fairfield County in Connecticut -- makes its way back. Christopher Booker has more on our new "Roads to Recovery" series.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Michael Hill:

    As vaccines slowly start to roll out and 2020 finally comes to a close, there are glimmers of hope that the COVID-19 pandemic may eventually end.

    But with months ahead and lingering social, economic, and public health damage, PBS NewsHour Weekend is starting a series focusing on one place: Fairfield county, in southeast Connecticut and how it makes its way back from the depths of the pandemic.

    We're calling it "Roads to Recovery" and here's Christopher Booker with an introduction.

  • Christopher Booker:

    To hold a mirror to Fairfield County in Connecticut is to see America's pandemic in its reflection.

    Nestled in the South West corner of the state, its proximity and connections to New York City, whether through roadways or public transportation, made an early surge of coronavirus inevitable.

    After a spike in April, and a quieter summer, cases today, like in most of the United States, have risen this winter. In all, this county of 945,000 people has had more than 51,000 infections, and 1,600 deaths.

    As the year ends, Fairfield remains, like so much of the country, locked in a loop of uncertainty. But that uncertainty, and the long recovery ahead is intertwined with the very same inequalities that the pandemic managed to exploit. From the disproportionate fatality rate for minorities to the record financial gains for the already wealthy.

    Even before the pandemic, Fairfield was one of the most unequal counties in the country, with financial services hubs in Stamford and mega mansions in ritzy New York suburbs like Greenwich.

    In Fairfield County, the top one percent earn more than 62 times the bottom 99 percent.

    And Fairfield County also includes Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest and poorest city. even before the COVID pandemic, this city, which sits right on the long island sound, had a poverty rate of just over 20 percent.

    With such uneven footing, what does recovery look like in Fairfield? And will America's reflection look as it did before the pandemic?

  • MUSIC:

    "Skeptic" by Podington Bear, used under CC 3.0.

Listen to this Segment