As the number of cases of coronavirus rises worldwide, gig workers like couriers or ride-share drivers are particularly vulnerable. First, their health.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still trying to get our arms around the exact world spread of this virus but we've really seen a number of Uber, less taxi drivers getting infected. One of the things we know is droplet contact is an important one meaning when you cough or sneeze you release (inaudible) or droplets. People come into contact with those droplets with their hands and then they're touching their face. That's a mode of transmission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fully aware that I'm more exposed to this than most other members of the public. Simply because I'm spending my entire day with complete strangers in very close proximity without any significant protections.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's not their contact with people that put them uniquely at risk. Gig workers don't get full benefits like full time employees. Things like subsidized health care, paid time off. That's why Edan Alva (ph) and other members of the group Gig Workers Rise are trying to force companies like Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, Amazon and others to give them full benefits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people don't get paid sick days, it means they do not take care of themselves. Which means they postpone going to the doctors, that they end up working rather than staying at home. If I don't work I can't pay my bills period.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now months into this international health crisis, the companies are starting to change their policies. Both Uber and Lyft now offer payments to drivers who have been diagnosed with coronavirus or have been quarantined by public health officials.
Uber says that its already begun to pay out some drivers but right now with testing not easily available, actually getting the diagnosis that you have coronavirus can be hard if not impossible. And on top of that, the companies haven't set how much they'll pay out drivers who do test positive or are quarantined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When people, if they get in coughing I roll the windows down in the back a little bit and kind of circulate the air around the car. I'm not going to walk around here with a mask on scaring people off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Lorraine Hanks (ph), coronavirus is no scarier than anything else she might be exposed to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Corona is not the only virus that can get you sick from other people. So I'm concerned about every virus and I'm very precautious. So I have my little - - my 81 proof alcohol. You know, it kills everything. It kills everything in a chemical lab. It will kill everything in this car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both Uber and Lyft are encouraging their drivers now to disinfect their cars regularly and both companies are offering supplies for them to do it. But for a gig worker, cleaning their cars cost time and time equals money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live without safety net. As a result, you start your day and you think to yourself is today going to be the day where something bad happens and my financial life is going to be completely derailed.