‘I cry before work’: US essential workers burned out amid pandemic

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
By Michael Sainato, The Guardian

Terri Prunty Kay has worked as a cashier at Walmart in Sonoma county, California since 2011. She had never cried at work because of treatment from customers before the pandemic.

“It’s been a nightmare,” she said. “The first three months there were item limits. Everyone was angry and combative. Now it’s the masks.”

Prunty Kay has asthma and wears a mask at work, but not all customers follow the mask policy. The heat in the store and through the summer has made it unbearable to work and she said her store is understaffed with long lines at the registers.

“It’s exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically,” she added.

Punty Kay is just one of the millions of essential jobs around the US reporting burnout, fatigue, stress and anxiety while continuing to work through Covid-19.

national poll conducted in August 2020 by Eagle Hill Consulting found 58% of US workers reported burnout, compared to 45% polled in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020. More workers also attributed their burnout to Covid-19 circumstances, at 35% compared to 25% in the previous poll. A July 2020 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation on adults in the US found 53% reported their mental health was negatively affected by coronavirus related worry and stress, compared to 32% reported in March.

Read the full story from The Guardian

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