Low pay. High contact.

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Aside from my daily walks with Ulysses, yesterday was the first time I left the house in eleven days.

One of my hearing aids stopped working and I had to go downtown to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. My plan was to drop it off in the lobby of the building so they could send it up to the 15th floor – audiology – and they would FedEx it back to me. Anne drove and we brought hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with us.

Audrey, my audiologist, had told me that they were keeping staffing low and that they had someone who had tested positive in their department.

I didn’t want to go up there.

I entered the Northwestern building by hitting the automatic door opener with my elbow and walked over to the information desk, keeping my distance. The woman working behind the desk explained that there was nobody to take my hearing aid up to the 15th floor and I would have to do it myself. She asked if I wanted a paper mask and I took two,  mainly to use as a barrier for the elevator buttons, having no idea if that mattered.

She also told me that Northwestern was not supplying masks to employees like her.

Her job is to greet every visitor to the hospital and hand them a pass.

Every visitor.

Nobody was in the elevator either going up or going down. I dropped off my hearing aid and fled the building.

Which got me thinking about who is most vulnerable in this crisis. I was already aware of the huge risks that doctors, nurses and health care workers were taking. They are courageous.


Service sector jobs make up the bulk of this vulnerable population, led by cashiers,waitstaff and care aides. Cashiers alone hold more than 3.5 million jobs, more than registered nurses or school teachers.

And while other workers — including janitors and office clerks — make comparable salaries, they’re less likely to depend on constant direct human contact for their livelihoods, according to O*NET data.

Government data shows workers in this salary tier are also less likely to get the kinds of benefits that would help them weather disruptions in work. Only 51 percent of employees in the bottom quarter of pay nationally say they get paid sick leave; only 1 percent say they have remote-friendly jobs.

I have been told that the COVID19 virus doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor.

But apparently those in charge do.

3 thoughts on “Low pay. High contact.

  1. It figures. Corporations are SO much in need of money while people get screwed.
    “The developments of this Senate relief bill are concerning,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It seems to give a *HALF TRILLION DOLLARS* away to big corporations, w/ few worker protections.”

  2. The “Too Kittle Too Late” actions of the man in the Whitehouse, his administration and certain members of the Senate have put us in this Pandemic. Initially billed as a “Hoax” and then a virus that will go away within 15 days because the “United States is so well prepared”. Since it’s inception in January the administration seemed to ignore all the early signs, conditions and reported failures observed in China and Italy. The slow learner trend lived on despite daily lessons accompanied by arrogance and ignorance by the ignorant. And to date the government continues to make promise after promise as usual. “We’ll have millions of masks very soon”, “thousands Coronavirus of tests next week”, “hundreds of new ventilators soon” and a treatment in 3 months, etc. While healthcare workers, greeters and service industry workers on the frontline risk their lives to serve and save others, the government continues to fail them and the American people as a whole. We are what’s touted as the greatest nation on earth, but we can’t even get protective masks and gloves to hospitals. Then there are the daily real time contradictions and hypocritical comments and directives broadcast live every morning. He says this, she says that, everything except the facts. Medical and scientific data along with evidence based research has taken a back seat to the leader in “Fake News”. Yes, it is business as usual preferring to focus on correcting the massive loses in the stock market rather than the health and welfare of US citizens. Willing to sacrifice the elderly and those who serve to save face and give us a false sense of security. While the Virus continues to grow in numbers that cannot be tracked because we don’t have the basic instruments and equipment. The whole thing is flawed, we’re told to stay home if we have flu or viral symptoms because we don’t want to overwhelm the already stressed hospital industry or contaminate others. We’re told that hydroxychloroquine, a drug that’s also been used to treat malaria is a potential Coronavirus cure. Some of those who believed this and tried it have died! Accountability and responsibility are a thing of the past, how long will this last? Until we vote him out!

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