Between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected over the course of the coronavirus epidemic, according to a projection that encompasses a range of four scenarios.

They have basic needs during this coronavirus infection: They have to look after themselves as well as ill family members, purchase vital healthcare supplies and provide childcare. About 44% of all U.S. workers qualify as “low wage,” earning a median of about $18,000 per year, per the Brookings Institution. According to the Federal Reserve, four in 10 adults in the U.S. last year said they would not be able to afford an unexpected $400 expense.

Some 12% of the nation lives in poverty. An estimated 60 percent of all Americans, including the elderly, have at least one chronic health condition, and 40 percent have more than one, making them most vulnerable.

Workers are laid off as businesses close which means the economy slows down. How are these citizens going to pay bills? An emergency basic income for all American residents would make sure that they can face this crisis confidently together. Basic income will reduce the burden on our healthcare system as it is known that it improves health outcomes which results in fewer hospitalizations, fewer visits to health practitioners, and lower food insecurity.

Basic income will also protect businesses since it puts cash directly into the hands of customers giving businesses needed revenue, thus boosting the economy.

It is time for the U.S. government to institute it.