Cuomo: Federal government should pay frontline workers ‘hazard pay’ for risking their lives during coronavirus pandemic

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday called on the federal government to pay frontline workers “hazard pay.”

‘This crisis is not over yet, and as long as these workers continue to work and expose themselves to the virus, they should be properly compensated’

— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking on CNN

“I am calling on the federal government to provide hazard pay to these frontline workers and give them a 50% bonus because they are the true heroes in this crisis,” he said.

“Essential public workers are the ones on the front lines every day carrying us through this crisis, and we must ensure their efforts and sacrifice are appropriately recognized,” Cuomo said. “This crisis is not over yet, and as long as these workers continue to work and expose themselves to the virus, they should be properly compensated.”

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The governor confirmed 4,726 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 247,512 confirmed cases in New York State. Some 136,806 of those positive cases were in New York City. There were another 478 deaths from COVID-19 overnight in the state, bringing the total in the state to 14,604. On the plus side, fatalities fell below 500 for the first time since the beginning of April.

Worldwide, there were 2,463,357 million cases and 168,906 fatalities, as of Monday afternoon. More than 247,500 of the 778,176 confirmed cases in the U.S. were in New York state. New York City remains the national epicenter, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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Cuomo said people of color are disproportionately represented in delivery and child-care services, and one-third of frontline workers are members of low-income households. His office cited data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which states that 41% of frontline workers are people of color. Of those, 45% of public transit workers and 40% of health-care workers are people of color.

“We see the infection rate among African Americans and brown Americans higher proportionally than other groups,” Cuomo said. “Why? Because they were out there exposing themselves.”

Cuomo has extended the statewide lockdown until May 15.

Originally Published on MarketWatch

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