Coronavirus Panel To Hold Member Briefing With Frontline Heroes
Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020)—On Thursday, May 21, 2020, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by Rep. James E. Clyburn, will hold a briefing for Members on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on medical staff, first responders, grocery store workers, drivers, custodians, and other frontline heroes.
Workers in essential services have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. Although data is incomplete, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in mid-April that more than 9,200 health care professionals had tested positive for coronavirus and at least 27 had died, with observers noting that the true numbers were likely much higher. In Ohio alone, more than 1,300 health care workers tested positive—20% of cases statewide. In New York City, at least 32 non-medical hospital staff have died as a result of the coronavirus.
More than 65 grocery store workers have died from the virus, and more than 9,800 have been infected or exposed. As of mid-April, the coronavirus had killed at least 94 transit workers, and nearly 2,500 had tested positive in New York City.
Frontline and essential workers often lack basic protections, including testing and personal protective equipment. According to one survey conducted in March and April 2020, only 19% of essential service employees received masks from their employers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency acknowledged that many essential workers will continue to face shortfalls in protective equipment.
Essential workers face even greater risks when public health guidance is not followed and when states reopen without appropriate mitigation strategies in place. Last week, a bipartisan group of public health experts warned the Select Subcommittee that to reopen safely, states must have a comprehensive testing, tracing, and targeted containment strategy—and the supplies and resources necessary to implement this strategy.