Tonight at 10 p.m. EDT on PBS’s Frontline “COVID’s Hidden Toll” numerous farm workers speak out about their experiences of having to choose between their health and their jobs – and what they say is a lack of protection from their companies.

The program examines outbreaks at several growers and meat packing plants during the past several months, and how new evidence indicates that agricultural workers have faced a heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus.

So far, there are no national mandatory COVID-19 protections for workers – only voluntary guidelines; how companies don’t have to tell their own employees about potential infections at their worksites; and the efforts to put in place more aggressive measures in California, where many of America’s fruits and vegetables are grown.

“I think the average American has no concept of how food reaches our table,” Max Cuevas, who runs a network of clinics serving farmworkers, says in the documentary. “I think there’s a huge disconnect with those of us who have sheltered in place not understanding how those people work and how much they have to work to make a living, and to make it profitable for the company that they’re working for.” 

“COVID’s Hidden Toll” will be available to watch in full at and in the PBS Video App starting tonight at 7 p.m. EDT. It will premiere on PBS stations (check local listings) and on YouTube at 10 p.m. EDT. It is the latest installment in Frontline’s award-winning body of work exposing the hidden realities facing low-wage immigrant workers in the U.S., many of whom are undocumented.

Frontline, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through storytelling, according to its website. It has won major journalism and broadcasting awards, including 93 Emmy Awards and 24 Peabody Awards

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