Tompkins County Workers Center Calls for Paid Sick Leave as COVID-19 Spreads Within New York

The Tompkins County Workers Center is calling for all workers in the county to have access to paid sick leave for the duration of the novel coronavirus outbreak — but the risk of disease in the county still remains low, according to local health officials. “We are facing a public and occupational health emergency,” said Pete Meyers, TCWC coordinator, in the Tuesday press release. “Workers who do the right thing and stay home when ill too often face financial hardship or even termination as a result. But now is not the time for business as usual.”

The press release stated that Tompkins County workers should not be penalized for taking extra precautions amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened 92,700 in at least 71 countries as of Tuesday afternoon. The TCWC is a non-profit organization based in Ithaca that advocates for fair treatment of workers in the county. While the organization has always advocated for paid sick leave, Meyers said that such a policy should be more accessible for employees given the circumstances surrounding the outbreak.

Evolving Viruses: What Does the Future Hold?

Virus outbreaks are nothing new: in just the past 10 years, the world has been plagued with the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 and a resurgence of the Ebola virus from 2014 to 2016 — and it seems like such epidemics will continue for years to come.

Which begs the question, can scientists predict if, and when, we will see another new virus strike within the next several years?