More than 1,000 officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) have tested positive for coronavirus and nearly 5,000 are on sick leave, according to authorities. At least three officers have died as a result of Covid-19.
Authorities expect the number of confirmed cases to continue to rise in the coming days, according to NYPD chief Dermot Shea, who explained that the number of sick officers began to increase around March 12 and that, although some of the first Cops who tested positive for COVID-19 are already returning to work, the numbers are expected to continue to worsen.
According to official data, almost 16% of uniformed police personnel are ill. In total, the Police Department has about 36,000 agents and about 19,000 civilian employees for the metropolis, according to figures from the institution itself. Three members (a detective and two civilians) have died as of Monday as a consequence of the disease, which has the largest focus in the United States in the Big Apple.
Police and ambulance services have been exhausted by the crisis and almost 25% of emergency workers have had to be absent due to illness (not necessarily Covid-19), according to firefighters.
Total, 2,800 members of the Fire Department have fallen ill, including about 950 of the 4,300 emergency service employees. Of those, 282 members, including firefighters, paramedics and civilians, have tested positive for coronavirus.
“I am concerned that essential workers are getting scared and not wanting to come,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. “That’s what worries me. You know that the number of police officers who are getting sick is increasing ”.
There is also nervousness due to the large flow of work to the 911 emergency system, whose call center is reaching daily records.
As reported by the chain NBC, there were 6,527 medical calls to 911 on Monday and in recent days, the Fire Department has had to keep hundreds of requests “on hold.” This means that lower priority sick calls have to wait for ambulances, should they become available.
New York, focus of the epidemic in the US
The city’s Health Department reported Tuesday night that nearly 1,100 people have died from the virus. The death toll for the entire state of New York stands at more than 1,500.
Local authorities are improvising hospitals at various facilities, including Central Park, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a cruise ship terminal and a sports complex.
The country has the highest number of cases in the world, with more than 190,000 and at least 4,000 deaths. Deaths from the pandemic could exceed 100,000 and infections could be in the millions, according to official estimates by the Donald Trump government.
In most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that disappear in two to three weeks. In some people, especially older adults and those with underlying health conditions, it can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, and even death. Most people recover.
(With information from AP and EFE)
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