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Mexican workers sick at PPE supply factory

Despite the severity of Mexico’s pandemic, many say they have to keep working, making critical products for other countries regardless the risks.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 8:34 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Personal protective equipment has become an essential tool in combating COVID-19, and many of the products being used here in the U.S. are being made in our neighboring country of Mexico.

Ironically, many of the Mexican factory workers are getting sick themselves.

In Mexico, there are factory workers who make some of the essential products and supplies that doctors need to save lives.

Some of those worker say they feel like they’re putting themselves at risk to keep others safe.

Medical supplies, which now more than ever, are considered essential products here in the U.S. are being made just south of the border wall, in Tijuana, Mexico.

There, a sprawling landscape of factories called maquiladoras, employ hundreds of thousands of Mexicans in low-wage jobs.

They make billions of dollars-worth of U.S.-bound exports each year, including medical supplies.

For decades, workers have said poor labor conditions in the maquiladoras are rampant, and some workers say a pandemic has only made things worse.

In most factories, base annual salaries are often less than $4,000 a year here, and sick or not if workers don’t go to work, many don’t get paid and might even get fired.

The government says it doesn’t specifically track the deaths of maquiladora workers from COVID-19, but activists tell us they’ve counted at least 500.

Tijuana is in Baja California, the Mexican state where 17 of every 100 patients diagnosed with COVID have died.

Some of them are now buried in an unmarked cemetery.

Despite the severity of Mexico’s pandemic, many say they have to keep working, making critical products for other countries regardless the risks.

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