The Pandemic Hardships of N.Y.C.’s Gig Workers


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Pedro Acosta “begged for food” at a food pantry near his home in Brooklyn last year, for the first time in his working life.

He has long driven for Uber. But Mr. Acosta, 53, stopped working for two months after contracting the coronavirus and developing breathing problems, leaving his family with financial challenges.

For many New Yorkers, some services became more essential during the height of the pandemic: Package deliveries ramped up, and ride-share apps were used in favor of public transit out of fear of the virus. Many ordered meals to their apartment buildings more often to avoid leaving their homes.

But many of the gig workers behind these services, like Mr. Acosta, a married father of six, have been significantly more likely than regular employees to have suffered health and financial issues during the pandemic.