Essential workers, from grocery workers to nurses, face burnout

Despite 32 states reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases, essential workers and small businesses continue to fight for survival amid the pandemic.
2:38 | 09/30/20

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Transcript for Essential workers, from grocery workers to nurses, face burnout
evening to our month-long series of reports, "Turning point." Tonight here, essential workers on the front lines from the start, and the exhaustion, the obstacles, their own financial crisis, bravely showing up to work, even if it means possible exposure to the virus. Often without protections to keep them safe. And a disproportion gnat number of those workers are people of color. Here's ABC's Adrienne Bankert tonight. Reporter: Tonight, despite 32 states reporting an increase in coronavirus cases, America's essential workers haven't stopped, working around the clock. This is my daily normal. Reporter: Hoping they don't get sick. From grocery store workers like Jeffrey reed -- The hazard is still here. It's still out there. Every day, you see that, you know, people are dying. Reporter: -- To frontline health care worker Paulo in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a scary thing to know is today going to be the day I get covid? Reporter: And farmers. In April, she said she and her crew felt fearful every day. Today, nearly six months later, she told us they've just grown accustomed to the anxiety, and working harder than ever. In a recent survey, 58% of U.S. Workers feel burnout from work. More than 1 in 3 of those workers point to circumstances tied to covid-19 as the reason behind their stress and exhaustion. The three biggest drivers were workload, work/life balance and lack of communication and support. The level of burnout is highly problematic. Reporter: For the essential workforce, where people of color made up 43% of employees at the start of the pandemic, they also may have faced and still may face increased exposure to covid-19 without adequate ppe, working without hazard pay or being underpaid. People of color have really played a crucial role in keeping the economy going as the covid outbreak has really played itself out. Reporter: Experts say that as economic recovery has begun, some communities have been left behind. This restaurant's closed, that restaurant's closed. Reporter: When New York City shut down, Jefferson LI's family's butcher shop in chinatown closed for months, in a neighborhood already on edge due to the stigma of the pandemic. LI used social media to attract new customers who lived elsewhere, advertising their low prices. But he says for every business, it's a fight for survival. Each one of these is just kind of like someone's American dream, someone's struggle, someone's future falling through the cracks. Reporter: And today we've learned that talks have resumed between Democrats and the white house on a workforce stimulus but they are still far from a deal. Adrienne, really important reporting. Thank you. Our series continues later this week on "Nightline."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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