“Personal care assistant Maria Colville leaves home for her job caring for an elderly woman in Watertown, Mass. – (Lane Turner / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
by Rowan Moore Garety
“When she heard friends working at Lowe’s were in line for $300 hazard-pay bonuses, Allanah Smit wondered why her employer, Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Miss., had no such plans. ‘Healthcare workers deserve hazard pay too,” she declared on Twitter. “Yes, we chose this profession, but we didn’t sign up to fight a global pandemic with ONE N-95 respirator and improper PPE.’
“As a certified nursing assistant, Smit makes just over $14 an hour to bathe, feed, and reposition patients recovering from car accidents, strokes, and major surgeries like hip replacements. When elective surgeries were suspended last week as the coronavirus spread from hot spots such as New Orleans, Smit began caring for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.
“As the healthcare system braces for the full impact of the pandemic, the shortage of doctors and nurses in epicenters like New York has gotten massive attention.
“Less scrutiny has been paid to home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants — ”