NEW YORK — When hospitals need to prep a room for the next coronavirus test, when jetliners discharge their passengers at the gate, when suburbanites start to take sanitary precautions more seriously, the call goes out: Send in the cleaners. These largely unsung workers are often the first line of defense against the global COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting homes, offices, medical facilities and public spaces where the novel coronavirus could spread. But the people doing all this cleaning earn low wages, frequently lack sick leave and paid days off, and can be fired with no warning. Amid all that is the constant fear that they could encounter the virus themselves, despite what many say are diligent precautions. Shasmin Lewis, who spends her mornings doing office work for MaidPro in Philadelphia and her afternoons cleaning homes, says her hours have jumped almost 80% to 40 hours a week. She brings her own mask to work even though MaidPro provides both masks and gloves, washes her hands frequently and wears gloves even when dusting. “I’m very worried, but I plan on staying around until we can’t,” she said. Not only do her elderly customers need her help, she says, but like


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