Filipino Frontliners and the Cost of COVID-19

On a day where COVID-19 positive Donald Trump disregards medical caution to quarantine at a hospital for a motorcade to “show strength”, I can only think of how selfish and barbaric he is to do so. When thousands of Filipino nurses who have worked on COVID-19 frontlines since the beginning of this year have lost their lives by working so hard to fight this pandemic.

In a news story entitled, “California’s Filipino American nurses are dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates,” Mercury News reporter Fiona Kelliher states that in California, 20% of nurses are Filipino and Filipino American. Of the CA nurses who have died of COVID-19, 70% are Filipino. Nationally, Filipino nurses who have died from COVID-19 number at 30%.

I have Filipino cousins, family friends, close friends, comrades who are nurses. They number in the thousands. Their positions as frontline workers are by design, a migration trajectory with historical precedent and a continued sustained stream of laborers. They have families in the Philippines, in the US, around the world, who depend on them.

To say that I’m devastated is an understatement.

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