Since the job market has collapsed, this means that for essential workers, the only alternative to staying in an unsafe job is unemployment without benefits — not a viable option.
Essential workers should not be left to the mercies of a dysfunctional labor market.
Ideally, to compensate them for their all-but-forced labor, the United States might grant citizenship to all essential workers who are undocumented.
The pressure on essential workers during the pandemic prefigures one path for the low-wage labor market once the current phase of the crisis is over: more coercion.
With the low-wage labor market depressed and flooded with workers, employers will not feel any compulsion to raise wages.