Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

  • Undocumented immigrants are a big share of America's farm labor workforce, particularly for fruits and vegetables.
  • They often work and live in conditions that make social distancing difficult, and they rarely have good health care access or paid sick leave. They are also ineligible for the bailout protections that recently passed.
  • “You can’t pick strawberries over Zoom," Lucas Zucker, a workers' advocate, told the L.A. Times.

In the food processing world:

  • Grand Island, Nebraska: 10 workers have tested positive at a beef packing plant. (Grand Island Independent)
  • Columbus Junction, Iowa: Hog slaughterhouse closed after 24 workers tested positive. (Reuters)
  • Pennsylvania: Empire Kosher Poultry, the biggest kosher chicken supplier in America, temporarily closed after some workers tested positive. (WSJ)
  • Moultrie, Georgia: Sanderson Farms, a chicken company, reduced its staffing as a precautionary move. (WSJ)

And at grocery stores: At least four workers nationwide have died from the virus, NBC News reports.

  • Customers often fail to keep 6 feet of distance and often don't wear gloves and masks, one grocery store worker told the AP.
  • “Most of us are terrified,” he said.

The bottom line: “I know that we are doing important work that is feeding the rest of the country," one worker told BuzzFeed News.

  • "We are essential workers that this country needs."

Special report: Health care workers vs. the coronavirus

Go deeper

The hard seltzer wars are heating up

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Competition in the hard seltzer market is heating up in the closing weeks of summer, as big companies like Constellation Brands, AB InBev and Molson Coors have entered the market and Coca-Cola is poised to join the fray in 2021.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has increased alcohol sales overall and hard seltzers are exploding in popularity and look to have staying power, boasting record high sales in recent weeks.

Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Photo: Alexey Druzhini/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.

Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.