With the coronavirus cases escalating every passing day, even daily chores have become a lot more complicated. People are getting increasingly dependent on people delivering food, medicines, and necessities to their doorsteps. Yet, often their minds are fraught with questions and they are left wondering whether it is safe at all. While the entire world is taking extra precautions to ward off the virus, so are the delivery workers. Along with the services provided by the healthcare workers, delivery workers are also battling this war on the frontlines of the pandemic. When malls, retail stores, and other businesses not considered critical infrastructures have been shut off in most parts of the world, immense pressure has landed on the delivery workers to provide essentials to the people. The workers have now assumed a new role with the cities in lockdown: delivering goods to masses in quarantine.
An assistant professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University, Ryan Ellis, aims to bring the world’s attention to the selfless work done by these workers. He praises them by saying, “What the delivery people are doing, delivering millions of essential pieces of mail and packages to us without the benefit of social distancing is vital and in its own way heroic when you stop to think about it.” Ellis, who previously used to work as a letter carrier, recalls his experience through his book, ‘Letters, Power Lines, and Other Dangerous Things: The Politics of Infrastructure Security’. He recollects how the anthrax attack created a high- risk situation for the postal workers. He finds resonance with the situation created during the year 2001 and now. Since both showcase how imperative it is for the delivery workers to keep working despite the precarious situation due to the health and economic crisis.
Ellis is hopeful and wishes to see if things change for postal and delivery workers amidst the pandemic and whether these workers get real protection or not. He also hopes that people and the government realise the real importance of delivery workers, “before a crisis, during a crisis, and after a crisis.” He says, “They deliver billions of medications every year. They deliver everything we need to places where no one else will go. Mail is a lifeline.”