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As the Virus Rampages Through Washington, Essential Workers Nationwide Are Paying the Price

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/13/virus-rampages-through-washington-essential-workers-nationwide-are-paying-price

Utah and Wisconsin, whose COVID woes Derrick Jackson relates, figure heavily in the third surge seizing the USA today. It’s difficult to overstate the apparent scale and prognosis for growth of the current surge, given the previews we’ve seen in Europe and the popularity of mask-scoffing in USA.

22 state-outbreaks are not only peaking today, most of their trajectories point steeply upward. The COVID outbreak is distinctly worse than ever this moment in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Seven more state-outbreaks teeter on the edge of surging to record levels, in Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The outbreak trajectory charted by daily new cases (or the 7-day average thereof) is one solid indication of serious trouble: when it’s slanting up like an Alpine roof. Another indication is positivity: the percentage of tests performed which come back positive. That’s where we really look lost in the epidemiological wilderness, with upwards of 10% positivity in most of these states. Nearly a quarter of everyone they test in Idaho turns out positive – very close to the point where tests are nearly pointless.

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Someone should report this to Trump and his merry band of nut jobs that will eventually pay the price.

Of course, they are not the only people or other species affected.

Many in the White House domestic staff, which seems to mainly be (traditionally) black, have worked there for decades before having to service the scourge. There are a lot of stories about people like that which we’re concertedly not hearing, I’d expect.


The White House is a hot spot. They need to provide some guidance to domestic staff which typically don’t have training in infection control. As in other settings, sometimes they call in Crime Scene cleaners that do have that training.

I hope they fumigate the place before a new administration takes up residence.

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They are more like sacrificial workers than “essential workers”.