This article from Reveal (affiliated with the Center for Investigative Reporting) makes clear that forceful lobbying derailed provisions that would have reduced the death toll among health care workers. (And it would also have reduced the number of cases where they then passed it on to other patients)
How a Lobbying Campaign Pushed the CDC to Relax Protective Gear Guidelines
by Jennifer Gollan
.… on March 10, facing a massive national shortage of personal protective equipment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had down-graded its guidance, opening the door for hospitals to provide only surgical masks to health care workers treating confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.
Read the full article: 31,000 and Counting
Farmworkers, grocery store workers, and many other essential workers have also seen provisions to protect them eliminated. It would appear that our legislators and government agencies also consider them to be expendable.