More than 40 9/11 first responders and survivors have died from coronavirus due to health complications

Almost 1,500 have tested positive for Covid-19 according to data from World Trade Centre Health Program

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 12 September 2020 00:01
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Joe Biden and Mike Pence attend 9/11 anniversary at Ground Zero

As the US marks 19 years since its worst terrorist attack, many of those who survived the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York are now faced with a greater risk of complications from the coronavirus.

According to figures from the World Trade Centre Health Program, as of 4 September, 1,185 first responders and 287 survivors have tested positive for Covid-19.

Of that number, 197 have been hospitalised, Newsweek reports. Of those hospitalisations, 154 were first responders and 43 were survivors.

A total of 44 people — 24 first responders and 20 survivors — are thought to have died from Covid-19.

Members of the programme tend to have health problems that can worsen the effects of Covid-19 — the most common being asthma, which can put them at risk of severe complications.

While anyone can develop a serious disease or die from the virus, those with comorbidities or compromised immune systems are more susceptible.

The exact number of deaths in the programme is unknown as figures only include people who sought treatment at certain locations.

“Almost two decades later, many responders and survivors still suffer the long-term health effects, both physically and mentally,” said Dr John Howard, WTC Health Program administrator, in a statement. “Their resolve and health are now being further tested by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

It is estimated that as many as 40,000 people who were in the vicinity of the World Trade Centre on 11 September, 2001, have subsequently developed health conditions.

Of that number, a quarter have developed cancer through exposure to toxins released into the air during the collapse of the buildings.

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