Low Pay, Low Prestige, and Stark Choices
Members of the essential workforce, comprising 62 million primarily women and underrepresented minorities (URMs), face a stark choice: keep working or lose their jobs.
Many jobs require close physical proximity to others and frequent face-to-face interactions that increase potential disease exposure. Physical distancing is an unattainable luxury. Essential workers expose themselves and their families to the COVID virus every day. For them, the economy never closed.
So, essential workers live in fear as they struggle with mental and physical health problems caused by constant stress, frequently exacerbated by sleep disorders. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), one in four essential workers report difficulty affording basic household expenses, including food and utilities.