As COVID-19 reached the continental US earlier this week, media coverage almost immediately connected the dots between this potential public health crisis and the myriad shortcomings of our public policy and healthcare system. The lack of a federal paid sick days policy received a lot of attention. The official guidance from the US Center for Disease Control called for people to stay home from work if they become sick, but the harsh reality is many working people can’t afford the lost wages (or in some cases, the loss of their job altogether) from calling out sick from work.

Here’s a round-up of some of the coverage:

“Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford” (New York Times)

“How Lack of Sick Leave in U.S. Can Make Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Worse” (Healthline)

“Lack of Paid Sick Days and Large Numbers of Uninsured in US Increase Risks of Spreading the Coronavirus” – Common Dreams

“The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home” – The Atlantic

“America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse” – Vox

“America’s Broken Social Safety Net Can’t Withstand The Coronavirus” – Huffington Post

“As coronavirus spreads, the CDC urges sick workers to stay home — but what if you don’t get paid sick leave?” – Market Watch

Our coalition has been working to make paid sick days a reality for working North Carolinians for more than twelve years now. Will this finally be the crisis that moves the needle?