Amid COVID-19, farmworkers face impossible choice: Social distance or go to work

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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – For Jovita Villarruel, a farmworker from Mexicali, staying home from the fields during the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t an option. She needed the paycheck – even if it meant risking her health. 

This spring, as most of California’s 40 million residents sheltered in place to stem the spread of the illness, Villarruel and other farmworkers continued harvesting fruits and vegetables in the Coachella Valley.

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