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Michelle Goitia usually has 25 mothers and babies in her postnatal yoga class. This week, only four turned up at the studio where she teaches in Brooklyn, New York, as fears about the growing coronavirus pandemic continue to spread across the United States.

New York state has more than 200 confirmed coronavirus cases so far and the governor has declared a state of emergency, which means Goitia expects attendance will continue to plummet - along with her pay.

"I am a teacher at a studio that pays me based on attendance: the more people, the more money I make," Goitia told Al Jazeera. "I am a private contractor, so if I do not teach or work, I do not get paid."

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In Enugu: Controversy as octogenarian living with dogs goes missing   Goitia has taught yoga, worked as a doula, led birth workshops and anchored new mother support groups for the past 15 years. That the population she works with is extra vulnerable to illness makes a pandemic like this even harder on her financially.

"My client base is pregnant women, and women that bring their young babies to my class, so I have to be extremely careful to not get them sick as well," she said.

Across the gig economy, independent contractors such as Goitia are bracing themselves for a drastic drop in income. Ride-share drivers, nannies and carers for the elderly, freelancers, house cleaners, fitness instructors and delivery people are among those who could feel the pinch as their customer base dwindles. (Ajazeera)
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