Could robotics help Reno recover from the pandemic downtown?

Editor’s note: Beth Hawkins is senior writer and national correspondent for The 74, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news site covering education in America. The Reno Gazette Journal is republishing her story with permission from The 74. 

On Nov. 28, 2020, the COVID-19 infection rate in Washoe County, Nevada, crested at 113 new cases per 100,000 residents. What that grim statistic meant to residents of Reno, Tahoe and the county’s other small cities depended greatly on their socioeconomic status. 

Employment on that day, for instance, was down 1 percent over January 2020 — low, but also deceptive. Employment among middle-income workers, those making $27,000 to $60,000 a year, was flat. But among those making less than $27,000, it fell 22 percent. Meanwhile, for residents earning more than the area’s median income, employment actually rose an astonishing 19 percent. 

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