When it comes to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, people like Leo Laffitte are on the front lines. Laffitte isn’t a health care provider. He works in facilities at Hartford Public Library and, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Laffitte is one of those workers whose jobs require he be physically present and in close contact with a variety of people, with no opportunity to work remotely, as so many employers have advised their workers to do. (Update: On Friday, the library announced it will close through March 31.)
There is another class of employees whose members are even more vulnerable. While health authorities tell people to stay home if they feel sick in the face of COVID-19, that advice is complicated for low-wage earners, of whom two-thirds are women, or for another overwhelmingly female group of workers such as certified nurse assistants and teaching assistants.