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When are we essential?

The paradox of the essential worker during the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

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The Coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that, in times of crisis, social triage is inevitable.

Overnight, the work of some was more essential than that of others; the needs of many could be overlooked and many others were required to make nothing less than sacrifices.

We are not just talking about doctors, nurses, and health workers, but also delivery workers, farmers, plant workers, cashiers, and many others, without whom the country simply could not get by.

However, they too had to pay the price for the social paradox in the country: you are essential in your work, but your rights are not quite so.

Millions of immigrants, Dreamers, and undocumented workers are still on the front lines of this emergency, even though the government is ignoring them in federal stimulus packages, and most employees in the health-care community need more than one wage to ensure a roof over their families' heads.

That's why stories like Daisy Lara's are the ones that should be on the front page of every media outlet: women, Latinas, who have made a career for themselves, who have broken with the prejudice of the profession, and who are now part of those first soldiers on the front lines of this public health crisis.

And this is also a story of patriotism, the like of which has not been seen in decades.

A week ago, the media reported that the Coronavirus has killed more Americans than those who died in the Vietnam War; just like then, it is African Americans and Latinos who are the first to die on the front lines.

It seems then that even if the pandemic passes, the rules of the game will remain intact.

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