The United States government has sent relief payments to more than 80 million Americans this week as a way to ease the financial hardships brought upon by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The deadly virus has swept the nation, shuttering businesses and causing massive job loss and financial uncertainty.
According to reports from the United States Treasury, people have been spending their stimulus money — up to $1200 — on necessities such as food, gas, and free-to-play mobile video games.
“$1200 can mean a lot to people, especially people just trying to survive,” financial analyst Sepp Bowman told Anime Maru. “It can be months of groceries, or you can do more than 40 10-pulls.”
For the millions who lost their jobs in the past weeks, the stimulus payment is much-needed relief.
“I lost my job a few weeks ago, but thankfully I could pay my utility bills, buy groceries for my elderly parents, and still have enough star gems to tier in the Old Town Event in Love Live! All Stars,” said Raul Castillo, 36.
The COVID-19 crisis has come in the middle of a contentious election season — in The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage.
“Food is obviously very important, but this crisis has made me really focus on what matters: getting Tokiko Zaizen voiced,” said Kristen Palmer, 20. “I need $1400 to buy the paid voting gacha ticket 50 times, so I have to find some more money somehow.”
While the government has stated this was a one-time payment, there is no end to the crisis in sight. Many are hoping for more assistance along the way, especially those with multiple children or mobile games to take care of.
“I’m worried for the future because I play Fate/Grand Order, Granblue Fantasy, and Azur Lane,” Brian Xu, 25, told Anime Maru. “I hope Trump opens businesses up again as soon as possible, so I can catch coronavirus and die.”