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Frontline Workers' Unions Want To Shut Everything Down For A Month To Stop This COVID-19 Surge

A nurse at a Nov. 23 vigil outside UCLA Medical Center for health care workers who died from COVID-19. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
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As COVID-19 cases and deaths surge around the region, a coalition of unions representing frontline health care workers, public school teachers, and grocery, food service and hotel workers is calling for a "circuit breaker" — they want the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to enact a four-week lockdown to try to bring the numbers down.

That would include curfews and the forced closure of all nonessential businesses, along with a financial safety net to keep workers and businesses afloat during the shutdown.

The coalition argues such a move would save lives by lowering the number of cases, relieving the pressure on hospitals, and allowing health agencies to improve their testing and contact tracing capabilities, ultimately leading to a quicker reopening of the broader economy.

"Healthcare workers throughout Los Angeles are reaching their breaking point," said Sal Rosselli, President of the National Union of Healthcare Workers:

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"They are understaffed, overworked and inundated with patients fighting for their lives. COVID-19 cannot be allowed to spread following the December holidays the way it spread after Thanksgiving. We all have to work together to keep this from getting worse, and that starts with people having the financial security to stay home."

Coronavirus infections and deaths have hit essential workers, the poor, and people of color especially hard.

Congress appears to be nearing a deal on another COVID-19 relief bill, but it does not appear to include aid to state and local governments.


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