As America Mourns 9/11 Dead, COVID-19 Takes 44 Survivors Of The Attack
On Friday, the president called for our nation to never forget those lost in the terror attack of 9/11/2001. Americans are called upon to appreciate first responders and be thankful for the survivors. Now 19 years later, the pandemic that Trump downplayed has taken the lives of dozens of these survivors, and likely changed the lives of hundreds more.
According to Newsweek, there’s not full documentation of how many 9/11 survivors contracted COVID-19, because the World Trade Center Health Program that tracks survivors only documents their medical conditions if they go to a Clinical Center of Excellence or Nationwide Provider Network. However, among those who did seek treatment at one of these facilities, the numbers are staggering — 1,185 first responders and 287 survivors were documented to have contracted the coronavirus. Over 150 first responders who were on the scene that day in 2001 have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and nearly 50 survivors have been documented as requiring a hospital stay. Two dozen first responders and 20 survivors have died with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
The conditions at Ground Zero, of course, have lifelong effects that increase the risk of serious complications of COVID-19.
The deaths are never the whole story. As SFGate documented in June, “Recovered doesn’t mean healthy.” An ICU nurse, Sherie Antoinette, described what she’d seen in survivors:
your blood thick as hell. Or that you may have to be on oxygen for the rest of your life. COVID is designed to kill. It is a highly intelligent virus and it attacks everything. We will run out of resources if we don’t continue to flatten the curve.
— Cherie Antoinette (@sheriantoinette) June 14, 2020
Survivors of the coronavirus have been documented to have complications from blood pressure problems, strokes, heart attacks, to ongoing lung problems, perhaps needing oxygen assistance or even a lung transplant, to failure of other organs.
The president has been excusing and passing blame for his decision to downplay the severity of the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the WTC Health Program, Dr. John Howard, told Newsweek, “Almost two decades later, many responders and survivors still suffer the long-term health effects, both physically and mentally. Their resolve and health are now being further tested by the COVID-19 pandemic.”