Former NYPD commissioner: Coronavirus is ‘biggest challenge since 9/11’
Former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir on how New York is working to contain the coronavirus.
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New York City’s police department, the largest police force in the nation, has purchased hundreds of thousands of masks, hand sanitizers and pairs of gloves for its members as the city continues to grapple with the new coronavirus outbreak, officials announced Tuesday.
Shortly before the NYPD sent out a press release detailing the new supplies, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said roughly 5,600 members – approximately 15 percent – were out sick on Tuesday, with almost 1,200 testing positive for COVID-19. Five members of the NYPD have died in the last week, he said.
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The police department boasts roughly 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian members.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve had reserves on supply,” Shea said during an earlier Q&A segment on Twitter. Speaking to NYPD members who might be listening, he said: “If somebody’s listening to this and you have usage of supplies and you need more, let the boss know and we’ll get you more. We’re not at a position where we’re saying, ‘We can’t fill requests.’”
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As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 75,795 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in New York, with at least 40,900 of those reported in New York City, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
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He added thousands of NYPD members are working from home, and previously said those that needed to be present for work, were doing so in staggered shifts. He said the NYPD does have a COVID-19 testing site open for “front-line” NYPD members, but police and union brass are still working to “boost” capacity.
The NYPD said in the press release the department and the New York City Police Foundation bought 150,000 units each of hand sanitizer packets and gloves for its members. The items were supplied by Winbrook for $500,000, the release states.