Home News As COVID-19 pandemic continues, farmworkers stay on the job—and in danger

As COVID-19 pandemic continues, farmworkers stay on the job—and in danger


Politico notes that in California, the seven counties with the very best per-capita COVID-19 charges are all in prime agricultural counties, with six of the seven clustered within the Central Valley—an important area for the nation’s meals provide. The identical dynamics are true in Washington, Arizona, and different agricultural areas. Politico additionally experiences that “a minimum of 57,000 meals system staff” have examined optimistic for COVID-19 to date.

There are quite a few explanations for what is going on on right here. Politico solely focuses on considered one of them: farmworker-to-farmworker transmission. It is actually a prime concern, as it’s in every other office. Farmworkers may go outdoors, decreasing pandemic threat, however in addition they usually work shoulder-to-shoulder, usually journey to the job collectively, and are of necessity continuously touring to new areas. Couple that with undocumented staff’ pure resistance to looking for assist for concern of deportation, the extraordinarily low pay offered, the utter lack of offered healthcare, and the “important” nature of the job, and it’s straightforward to see why the virus can journey rapidly and freely via farm communities after it has been launched.

Certainly, Politico notes a California Institute for Rural Studies report discovering agricultural staff in Monterey County had been “greater than thrice as doubtless” to be contaminated than the county’s non-agricultural industries.

What Politico does not go into is the politics of those locations. They’re predominantly rural, by definition, and predominantly Republican and conservative by custom. California’s Central Valley is much extra conservative than its main cities. The agricultural hub of Fresno, California, is a COVID-19 hotspot—and it is also the house of absolute crackpot Republican Home member Devin Nunes, one of many Republican Celebration’s prime Donald Trump allies and defenders.

These two issues shouldn’t be seen as coincidental. As we have seen in Texas and Florida, Republican-governed areas have seen sharp rises of pandemic circumstances after politically motivated “reopenings.” Conservative areas have been fast to dismiss the pandemic as, if not an outright “hoax,” a political assault on Donald Trump. You will not see as many masks, and never a lot persistence for social distancing.

What you will see, nevertheless, is rampant racism—particularly towards the very farmworkers these counties rely upon. This nation’s agricultural staff are persevering with to face disproportionate dangers within the COVID-19 pandemic; by and enormous, nevertheless, that’s by design.