The Effect on Employment
1. One Ohio-based student has been left unemployed as a result of coronavirus. The restaurant employee had to cease working, as she lives with her mother who is particularly vulnerable. Her semester ended early, which meant that lessons were hosted on canvas. However, this approach has been relatively unsuccessful, as she recalls struggling to "retain" information. This respondent feels that the US government's response to the virus has been "catastrophic", and notes that her mental health has suffered as a result of the pandemic. She recognises that the management team "are doing their best" to ensure the safety of their workers, but "the owners of the restaurant are pushing to break rules." As lockdown measures are beginning to lift, COVID-19 tests remain unavailable.
2. One citizen of Illinois, USA has also made the decision to quit her job. She explains, “I voluntarily quit my job because of the high volume of customer traffic I'd be exposed to, and given that it's a McDonalds it was not a very safe or sanitary place to begin with. I am also at-risk because I am diabetic, so as soon as our governor put in the shelter-at-home ordinance, I told my job I was leaving for an indefinite period of time in order to stay safe. I do not plan on going back.” This respondent was displaying symptoms of COVID-19, but was fortunately able to get tested - the results for which she would receive in "3-5 working days." Conveniently, she only had to drive "about ten minutes" to get swabbed; she explains that there were other facilities available, although some of them required a referral from a doctor. She believes the government have responded "mostly well" to the outbreak of disease, although acknowledges "some errors were inevitable"; she's also found that the media have "usually been providing the public with reliable information." Having joined DoorDash as a delivery driver, this respondent thinks her and her family "will manage to cope".
Workers in the U.S. on their job security
3. The final respondent we spoke to has both lost employment, and gained it amidst the pandemic. They explain, "When COVID-19 first came to the state I was working in a grocery store as a curbside pickup clerk. People panic-bought until the shelves were empty of everything. We had mass orders and angry people. Then I found out that I was being offered a job as a healthcare worker at a really really good job, at a hospital I have been trying to work at for several months." They continued to describe the opportunity as an "absolute dream job - one that I didn’t expect to be hired for." However, the journey was not without obstacles, as "the day before I was supposed to start, [the hospital] called me, letting me know they had to delay my start date due to COVID-19. They continued to delay it for 2 months. was afraid to get a temporary job inbetween, [because] I never knew if I was going to start work [at the hospital] the next week." Finally, however, their hopes became a reality, as the hospital provided them with a confirmed start date!
This key worker lives in Utah. Here, there were no strict lockdown measures enforced, as facilities were gradually closed. They described the approach as "ridiculous". The pandemic has also taken a great toll on this respondent's mental health, as they recall: "It’s been really hard. I felt like I had no purpose. I felt like I was losing control of my life. I had no control of when I would have a job or income. My OCD got really bad, worse than it has been in years. I started to develop an eating disorder." They are also critical of both the government and media's responses, believing that the latter have heightened stress, panic, and anxiety amongst the public.