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Social Distancing a Luxury That Workers on $2 a Day Can’t Afford

  • India’s informal economy to be badly affected by pandemic
  • Migrant laborers face the economic brunt of social distancing
People wearing protective masks stand in front of shuttered stores in Old Delhi on March 22.
People wearing protective masks stand in front of shuttered stores in Old Delhi on March 22.Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Baby Devi has already lost 80% of her monthly earnings to the spread of the coronavirus -- and the worst in India may be yet to come.

The 38-year-old mother of four, who cleans homes for a living, lost jobs with two of her three employers. Like many relatively well-off Indians, they’ve begun social distancing to fight the highly infectious virus.