The recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has taken the world so suddenly that everything’s come to an eerie halt. With the advice of social distancing and millions of people in quarantine, the coronavirus has made society realize that the essential workers are not the suit-and-tie, briefcase-carrying men. Our essential workers are supermarket employees, healthcare workers, bus and delivery drivers, and cleaning staff.
Essential workers are our front liners in this time of crisis. For the community to cater to people’s needs, establishments that provide food, medicine, and transportation need to be in operation. Thus, front liners have to perform their duties, exposing themselves to potential threats.
Unfortunately, they are also underappreciated people in society. For example, the average hourly pay of a supermarket cashier is $10.78 in 2018. This is well below the United States living wage that was already $16.07 an hour in 2017. Aside from this, some needed to demand hazard pay and benefits. Other companies have increased the salary of these workers but only temporarily.
In the healthcare field, many doctors and nurses worldwide have lost their lives to the virus as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been scarce in some countries. Other than this, hospitals are struggling with a shortage of physician staffing as they begin to work at capacity.
There’s no doubt that these people are our heroes. Here’s why:
Increased exposure to the virus
Because these people continue to work amid a critically-contagious virus, they are exposed to more people and surfaces that may carry COVID-19. These people simply have very little to no choice but to go to work every day, instead of staying in isolation in their homes. This does not only affect them, too, because they risk bringing contamination in their own homes. When they come home, they might need to isolate or distance themselves from their family members or roommates.
They supply basic needs.
For the few months that restaurants, public transportation, and other establishments were closed, it was hard to perform the usual routines. With the help of supermarket employees, bus and delivery drivers, people can still buy their basic needs.
At a time where sickness is the enemy, and the immune system is the first line of defense, medications and vitamins are incredibly essential. With the help of pharmacists, the people with maintenance medications and other health issues can continue to ensure that they are of optimum health.
Healthcare workers fight the battle.
Doctors, nurses, medical technologists, among many healthcare workers spend days and days in hospitals, treating infected patients. They go through the physical, mental, and emotional stress to contain the pandemic and lessen fatalities as much as they could. Their mental and emotional health are also affected as they lose their patients to the fight. Healthcare workers are facing the battle with limited information and with the absence of a vaccine or a definite cure.
The most everyone could do is to show essential workers gratitude and appreciation by saying, “thank you.” Hopefully, in the world after the Coronavirus pandemic, a more tangible and economic recognition comes into the picture.