Yes, it is "survival" money since otherwise many will not be able to pay their rent, their mortgage, or buy food. IMO of course.
I live in the most infected state (New York - 45, 934 cases), in the most infected city (NYC - 26, 697 cases) and in NYC's most infected borough (Queens - 8529 cases). Those statistics all as of about 4 PM today. It is weird. There is not the slightest possibility that I have NOT been exposed to the virus, from many people, along with everyone else I know and love here. Yet, I don't feel anything close to the raw constant fear I felt for months after 9/11, when I was so afraid the subways would be blown up, or worst of all, the Indian Point nuclear power plant (which would have wiped out this whole area of the country). I have the same tension of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I'm just not as physically fearful as I was then, even though I understand COVID 19 is a pretty horrifically painful death - and one I'd be likely to have alone. In fact I felt more dread during the AIDS crisis in the 80's when I was going to three funerals a month.
It's irrational because I should be much more scared. Intellectually I know this. Maybe part of it is that the weirdest thing about NYC social distancing is that we're now doing the opposite of the kind of social distancing New Yorkers always do. We're REALLY good at being crushed into a subway car and yet ignoring all the people we're crushed against. All of us (women especially) are experts at walking down a crowded street and not making eye contact. But you're always friendly to the folks at the pizzeria and the bodega and the bar and the laundromat (and despite what you might have heard, your closer neighbors). And it's also the case that in big emergencies, like 9/11, or Hurricane Sandy, or the ridiculous two week blackout we had in my end of Queens a few years back - that there's this immediate kind of camaraderie and mutual aid that comes to the fore. I remember walking across the 59th Street Bridge back to Queens on the morning of 9/11 and the way people were hugging strangers who started to cry, people letting other people use their phones, people singing and praying, playing the radio.
And now we have this terror among us and we're supposed to be interacting with our neighbors on the block the way we interact with people in other states and other countries - virtually. I make a point of getting outside and walking a bit every day, and I'm still buying groceries from stores and not online, six feet apart from everybody else of course blah blah blah. And I talk to people, again from a safe distance, and not for long since, you know.
I guess I feel weirdly trapped. All Mr Rat and I can do is wait and see, Like everybody else.