Protecting Our COVID-19 Heroes


Ketty Dones

Schools open up to give meals to families that only have access to food in a school day. Police officers ensure the safety of the community and making sure everyone is taking precaution.

Ingrid Moises, Staff Writer

As many of us are aware, the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected millions of people around the world and the number of infected people is increasing largely on a daily basis. In light of all of the chaos, essential workers have stepped up to the greatest challenge they could have been faced with. Although their work is praised by many, essential workers still lack certain safety precautions that are vital to their wellbeing. Every day, they encounter the risk of infection and extending it to their families. Essential workers should have better protection in the form of access to safer sanitation supplies, monetary compensation, and access to affordable healthcare because of their humanitarian efforts.

As a safety precaution, when the pandemic reached America, the government shit down non-essential businesses in order to reduce social interaction. However, companies and places that are deemed “essential” have their workers day in and day out in order to support the general wellbeing of the American population. Pharmacies, hospitals, grocery stores and warehouses are all places that have to be up and running constantly yet lack proper sanitation precautions. When a worker comes home from substandard working conditions, they are at a higher risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to people in their household. 

In many circumstances, grocery workers are less than 6 feet apart from their customers and are not given the proper gear for protection. Recently, many grocery companies have established rules such as only permitting small groups of people to enter at a time, six feet markers, plexiglass sneeze guards at cashiers and making the store inaccessible without a protective mask. Healthcare workers are facing an even greater battle. Every day, nurses and doctors are exposed to an immense amount of contaminants and therefore, their protective gear should be changed every couple of hours to limit exposure to bacteria. However, the shortage of gear has led to healthcare workers using the same gloves, masks and gowns for days at a time. This has put our workers at an alarming risk, further risking the health of their patients as well. The long hours and layers of protective gear, like goggles and masks, have taken a toll on medical workers’ physical health. Nurses and doctors have harsh facial bruises and constant aches because of the vast amount of patients they must tend to. The people on the frontlines of this pandemic must be prioritized, not only for their safety but for the sake of public health.

Ingrid Moises
Winn-Dixie workers have plexiglass on counters, change their gloves every couple of hours, and wear the same mask all day.

“As an essential worker, I believe that since most of us are just trying to help the economic situations at home, if we get sick, it would be hard to contribute. I think that if we establish more sanitation rules, it will definitely spread less, and help workers be more protected,” sophomore Lendy De La Cruz said.

Essential workers are often not paid as much as they should be for being one of the main contributors to increasing economic growth. On April 22, Forbes published an article on hazard pay for essential workers. This pay can be up to $25 thousand for those who earn less than $2 hundred thousand a year and are working through this crisis. This is a monetary compensation that the U.S government is considering in order to appreciate the people continuing their jobs even when faced with daily imminent threats to their health. Bonuses and pay raise should be implemented in times of hardship because there is no greater cost than someone’s life, and these workers are risking it every day. 

Some people may argue that hazard pay should not be granted because healthcare workers are not receiving the same amount of compensation. On the other hand, healthcare workers are usually in superior economic standing and are not underrepresented by companies or the government. While it may be true that health workers are at a far bigger risk than those who work at grocery stores or pharmacies, they do have the economic support for a crisis that underpaid workers in other fields do not. 

In this country, healthcare is not easily accessible to those that work in places without any benefits. Under these unusual circumstances, places that remain open should provide access to affordable healthcare. If a worker gets sick, having access to healthcare will increase public safety as workers will receive proper medical attention. The sooner healthcare regulations are implemented, the more people can be protected all around the nation. 

“I live with two essential workers and it is hard because you never know if they have contracted the disease. Access to healthcare is really important because not only will it save the worker, but their families as well,” sophomore Ashley Cruz said.

In these times, the public should adhere to the government mandates of self-quarantine and social distancing for the safety of the frontline workers and themselves. The only way to properly take care of the workers that are at risk daily is by staying home and wearing protective gear when entering public places. It is extremely important that proper protective gear is worn when coming in contact with other people and following the CDC’s regulations for social distancing. By staying at six feet at all times, not gathering in groups, and avoiding crowds, the possibility of contracting the virus is significantly reduced. Self-isolation and quarantine is a key component in protecting the health of oneself and others. Leaving one’s house for essential purposes is also a big contributor to flattening the curve. If you leave your house for nonessentials, you are putting many people at risk for no valuable reason.

All in all, essential workers have kept everything afloat, instilling a sense of normalcy during this pandemic. By risking their lives and their families’ health every day, they have proven to be heroes in one of the most devastating situations the world has faced. They are the modern-day heroes wearing scrubs and uniforms instead of the classic cape. Due to this, monetary compensation, better sanitation, and access to affordable healthcare should be implemented in all essential businesses in order to protect workers, and civilians.