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COVID-19 killed dozens of 9/11 first responders

Richard Seaberry, Albert Petrocelli, John Knox, Arthur Lacker and Edward Doty were among dozens of first responders who answered the call during one national tragedy and then died in another.

FDNY EMT Richard Seaberry.Courtesy FDNY

And as New York and the nation on Friday marked the 19th anniversary of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the ranks of nearly 200,000 Americans who died from COVID-1

9 have been filled by the dozen. of heroes like these who risked their lives to save others when the twin towers fell.

“Gross subcount” were the words New York City attorney Michael Barasch used in a recent interview in which he revealed that 22 of the 20,000 first responders and 9/11 survivors he represented with ground zero-related illnesses had died of COVID-19.

Since then, Barasch has learned that 9/11 first responders have died from the coronavirus five times more than he thought.

“Of these individuals, more than 100 have died of COVID-19 from ground zero-related diseases,” Barasch spokesman Patrick Rheaume said in a statement Friday.

Up to 68 cancers and dozens of respiratory ailments reported by many 9/11 rescuers made them “especially vulnerable to a disease that attacks the lungs and immune system,” Rheaume added.

John Feal, a demolition supervisor at Ground Zero who runs the Fealgood Foundation, which he supports on behalf of first responders, said he knew at least four dozen people affected by the disease and more than a thousand positive results. And he is one of them.

“In March, we released a video telling our people to take it seriously, and then a week later I got it,” Feal told NBC News. “Until today, I don’t know how I got it. I just know I’ve never felt such pain before.”

Feal, who lost part of his left foot after a 4-ton steel beam fell on it at ground zero, said he felt like his body was on fire and, at the same time, it was like that. hard to breathe it felt like it was drowning. “I don’t get scared easily, but that scared me,” he said.

Knox, 84, a former New York City firefighter who came out of retirement to help search for bodies at Ground Zero, died in March. Seaberry, 63, a Queens EMT veteran who also took part in the relief efforts and grim recovery efforts, died in April. In April, 72-year-old Lacker also died, a construction worker who toiled in the “pit” for two years.

Petrocelli was 73 when he too died in April. He was a leader of the New York City Fire Battalion on 9/11 and, along with his firefighter son, Albert Jr., responded to the burning World Trade Center where his other son, a merchandise trader named Mark , he was trapped on the 93rd floor of the north tower. They never found Mark’s body.

Albert Petrocelli with a photo of his son, Mark, at a press conference announcing the winning design for the World Trade Center site on February 27, 2003 in New York City.Mario Tama / Getty Images

As America mourned 9/11, the coronavirus death toll rose 1,249 to 193,186 and the number of confirmed cases rose to nearly 6.5 million – both world-leading numbers, the latest figures show. NBC News.

President Donald Trump, accused of lying to the American public about the severity of the pandemic while privately admitting to reporter Bob Woodward that the coronavirus was “deadly stuff,” headed to Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Friday for the ceremony at Flight 93 National. Memorial.

While Trump has repeatedly praised his administration’s response to the pandemic, the United States now accounts for more than a fifth of the world’s more than 910,000 coronavirus deaths and 28 million confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.

Feal said he firmly tried not to take a political side when he fought against the George W. Bush administration after 9/11 to get help for first responders, and last year when he successfully lobbied Congress with comedian Jon Stewart to renew funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

But Feal admitted that Friday, as he watched Trump leave for Shanksville, he found himself wrapping pieces of paper into balls and throwing them at the TV screen.

“The federal government’s response to the pandemic was a disaster, simply excruciating,” Feal said. “There is all this bragging about the great job we are doing with the pandemic while at the same time we are normalizing the people who die. We are losing touch with humanity. We have failed. And I am not alone in thinking that.”

In other coronavirus news:

  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert and a frequent Trump target, warned that as we approach flu season, Americans must continue to be vigilant about COVID-19. While the number of new cases has been slowly dwindling in recent weeks, the nation is still experiencing new outbreaks that could become more severe as the climate gets colder. “We have to squat and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy,” Fauci said during a panel of doctors at Harvard Medical School. Fauci drew Trump’s ire and survived an attempt by the White House to discredit him after contradicting the president’s more optimistic assessment of the pandemic’s progress.
  • The rush for toilet paper and other essentials may be over, but food prices have risen again. August was the second most expensive month for spending this year, just slightly behind May. The national average for a basket of 37 items peaked at $ 138.78 in May, then dropped to $ 136.40 in June and July, before rising to $ 138.63 in August. Because? “Promotions offered to consumers continue to be suppressed below pre-COVID-19 levels for the fifth consecutive month,” Phil Tedesco, director of retail analytics for Nielsen, told NBC News. which is what has made this month more expensive than in recent months. “

  • The bars will reopen Monday at 50% capacity in most of Florida, a hard-hit state where infection and mortality rates have dropped but where 176 people have died from COVID-19 overnight and 12,658 new cases have been reported. Bars in Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County, however, will continue to remain closed for now, officials said. Florida experienced an explosion of new cases and deaths when Governor Ron DeSantis, at Trump’s urging, ordered on April 29 that its state be reopened after only a brief quarantine. When it became clear that the bars were becoming COVID-19 spreading centers, DeSantis ordered them to close on June 26. Florida reported 12,481 coronavirus deaths and 654,731 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic as of Friday.

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