Always remember that the pain & suffering we are experiencing due to Covid-19 never falls evenly in America. Some cannot even afford to get sick. Therefore, the coronavirus crisis has exposed many ugly truths about ourselves that most have known for a long time. How some lives are more important than others; how under recognized and underappreciated “essential” workers truly are, not just now but always.
None of our Federal, State, or Local government officials has suggested health insurance for these “essential” workers – even in the face of this pandemic.
It’s truly ironic that the people who are mocked & ridiculed are all of a sudden “essential.” These “essential” workers did not classify themselves as such but rather the governments (Federal, State, & Local) did. It goes without saying that not everyone who is considered “essential” wants to be “essential.”
Many of these “essential” workers are immigrant. Before this pandemic, some of these immigrants were ask to leave the US. “Well, go to hell; you didn’t care about me before this virus and you don’t really care about me now,” said Carlos – a worker at a grocery store.
I spoke with ten (10) “essential” workers across to states (Maryland & Delaware) in the past two weeks. All on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs, they ask me not to include their full name or place of employment. I asked them, how do they feel about being all of a sudden an “essential” worker; and what could we do as a nation to assist? The answers from four of them should not surprise anyone as during these uncertain times, “essential” workers share the same survival worries that we all share – protecting ourselves and our families.
- Mr. Mike – This place is working me too much and they have me doing too many things. Now, they want me to be the mask police, f*** that. We should have had health benefits a long time ago; but we are not important.
- Ms. Barbara – “The extra money is nice but I want, no I need, a few days off to make sure my health is okay. But I can’t now as so many of my co-workers are sick. I wish they offered us testing so we can protect our families.”
- Ms. Jennifer – “I want to quit but I know I would not get unemployment. Politicians can make sure we all have health benefits.
- Mr. Joe – “I know I am putting my son & my girlfriend in harm’s way; but I need to work as much as I can because my girlfriend is pregnant and can’t work. I have no health care and worry about myself sometimes. Also, I want people to be more respectful when items are out of stock. People are rude and they blame me.”
- If these workers were truly “essential”, some government identity would have recommended/guaranteed health benefits by now.
- Thus far, we have had 4 stimulus bills passed because of the pandemic and none of them included money for “essential” workers to receive health care.
It should be noted that that those “essential” workers struggling with the choice between working in life threatening situations and not getting paid are often those who can ill afford not to work. Furthermore, for most “essential” workers, unemployment would clearly be a better and indeed much safer if their employer offered such benefits. However, the unemployment rules read one cannot quit their job and then collect unemployment. The fact that “essential” jobs have been just declared “essential,” the worker cannot quit due to a dangerous situation or fear of such.
- Just because we seem like we care, doesn’t really mean we care.
- It’s absolutely insane and unfair to ask the “essential” worker to enforce mask covering or be the mask police.
- How in the hell can we go through this pandemic without any government official talking about health care for the “essential” workers. I guess they are not really that “essential.”
- To be fair, some lawmakers have recommended hazard pay and student loan forgiveness; but what good is either of them if the worker has bad health.
- Since we know minorities make up a disproportional percentage of the “essential” worker as well has the group disproportionately dying of Covid-19, would it not be prudent for them to have adequate health care?
- Why not healthcare for all?? Did we not learn anything from this Coronavirus pandemic?
- Good health is only good if everyone’s health is good.