From windows and rooftops through the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions around the world cheered essential workers on the front lines who daily risked contracting this highly contagious disease. Janitors, grocery store workers, drivers, warehouse workers, letter carriers, food delivery people, teachers and transit workers, along with the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff caring for patients, all became heroes as the worst pandemic in a century swept the planet. Thousands of these front-line workers died.
As we celebrate Labour Day, traditionally marked by cookouts and beaches followed by the return to school, we should honor these fallen heroes — by wearing masks, social distancing, and fighting for a science-driven course correction to this country’s catastrophic pandemic response. President Donald Trump must invoke the Defense Production Act, making hundreds of millions of free masks and tests available, coupled with contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.
Kaiser Health News and The Guardian built a regularly updated database of front-line US health-care workers who died of COVID-19; as of this week, 1,079 were on that list.
Among them, 39-year-old Adiel Montgomery, a security guard at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn. In late March, he lost his sense of taste and smell and had flu-like symptoms. Two weeks later, he suffered acute chest pain and died suddenly. He had complained about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), which eventually arrived, just not in time to save him. …