Americans' obsession with staying home hurts vulnerable workers

Americans' obsession with staying home hurts vulnerable workers

We cannot grocery deliver our way out of a pandemic.
Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

Public messaging in the pandemic has said "we" need to stay at home.

This ignores people who must report to a work site.

The elevation of making "good" individual choices in the pandemic needs to end.

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I was watching Hulu when I first saw the ad. "COVID-19 can spread rapidly," an upbeat, urgent voice said. "Or we can make choices that help us stay home and stop the spread." The advertisement went on to encourage people to have medication delivered via the startup Capsule, to "help keep our communities safe." It was an ad targeted to people like me, who had spent the pandemic working from home and binging hours of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."The message was clear: the right thing to do to stop the spread of COVID-19 was to stay inside. But, what about the workers who have to travel to a pharmacy, picking up the medicine, and making the deliveries? If staying home means someone else takes on the same risk, is that really safer? Or, does it just shift the risk to someone else, typically to low-income workers?
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