The focus of today’s news briefing is on the services and frontline workers facing exposure to the ongoing pandemic. From healthcare, to postal services, and even to international shipping, there isn’t a sector of the economy without workers in harm’s way. And this could have disastrous consequences for the rest of society. All stories courtesy of the front page curation at newseum.org and their respective newspapers.
Front line healthcare workers are being decimated by COVID-19. While many hospitals are not freely sharing the data on how many employees are infected, known cases are popping up far from the ICU as medical professionals are forced to fight the pandemic with even longer, more grueling shifts and insufficient gear to keep them safe.
USPS mail carriers are on the front lines of the pandemic, ensuring people get necessary packages and mail at great risk to their own health. Many are working in close quarters with their fellow workers at sorting centers, and deliveries often mean coming in contact with dozens of people each day. On top of these risks to the frontline employees, the postal service itself is struggling as many of its revenue-generating services have been hit hard by the ongoing crisis. Despite needing funding due to its necessary status, Republicans are refusing to help.
Healthcare workers are being forced by circumstances to self-isolate from their families. For single parents on the frontlines, this means sending children away to live with relatives and refusing contact with their relatives - no matter how elderly or infirm. Many are forced to find housing away from home, despite salaries that definitely can’t support such an arrangement. Without such measures, workers risk creating clusters and disastrously spreading disease into presently uninfected social circles.
Image USPS Post Office Building by SoFuego. Credit Courtesy Pixabay
Meat producers in Canada are warning the government that COVID-19 threatens to interrupt supply to consumers. Slaughterhouse employees are, by the very nature of the business, incapable of maintaining adequate social distances and multiple outbreaks have occurred at processing facilities as a result. These delays are threatening to cause price shocks in feed and labor, which could expand to the wider farming industry.
Philippine sailors are finding themselves forced to remain in quarantine without work in cramped conditions as COVID-19 spreads there. Sailors from the Philippines make up a large chunk of the international shipping industry’s laborers and travel restrictions placed on such migrant labor threatens to have disastrous effects on the global distribution of vital products - such as food and medicine - around the world, as the vast majority of internationally sold products travel via the ships these sailors crew.
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