* Fran Spielman…
Chicago’s forgotten army of 2,000 refuse collection workers are picking up 50 percent more garbage during the statewide, stay-at-home order — but without the masks distributed to other front-line workers, according to their union leader.
Steve Marcucci, vice-president of Laborers Local 1001, said his members are working harder than ever to keep the city clean and prevent the sheer volume of garbage from piling up in alleys, triggering an explosion in the city’s rat population. […]
“I’m not aware that the sanitation workers aren’t being equipped [with masks]. That’s something we’ll look into. … We’re going to make sure they’re protected,” the mayor said. […]
“Employees are permitted to use cloth face coverings while at work unless the use of such cloth face covering would pose a health or safety risk to the employee. The use of cloth face coverings by employees is voluntary,” [Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Christina Villarreal] wrote.
Cloth face coverings help prevent people from spraying other people with infected droplets. They’ll help, but that’s not really the issue here. The problem is the workers are handling a whole lot of refuse that could be infected.
* From the National Institute of Health…
The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
Better masks could help, so it should at least be looked into. That cold bureaucratic response from Streets and San was uncalled for.
If you’re still going in to work, please tell the rest of us about your experiences in comments. Thanks.