Two more NYPD employees die from COVID-19 but Commissioner says ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’ as more than 600 cops beat the virus and are back to work
- Detective Jack Polimeni and School Safety Agent Joseph Donofrio both died Friday taking the NYPD’S coronavirus death toll to 19
- It came after Shea revealed heartening news about the NYPD in a Twitter Q&A
- More than 600 NYPD cops have recovered from the virus and are back at work, while the number of officers calling out sick fell to lowest level in 27 days
- However, Shea warned against complacency, saying that around 20% of the force are still ill and there will be more difficult weeks ahead
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Two more NYPD employees have passed away from COVID-19, taking the department’s total number of deaths to 19.
Detective Jack Polimeni and School Safety Agent Joseph Donofrio both died Friday – with the sad news confirmed by Commissioner Dermot Shea on Twitter.
‘Today and always, we vow to never forget what they mean to us, and to all the New Yorkers they served,’ he wrote beneath images of the two men.
Both Polimeni and Donofrio had worked with the NYPD for decades. Polimeni was a 23-year veteran of the force. He was working with Manhattan’s Warrant Squad at the time he fell ill.
The sad news undermined some promising statistics revealed by Commissioner Shea just hours earlier.
In a Twitter Q&A, Shea declared that that 600 NYPD cops are now back on duty after recovering from COVID-19.
He also revealed that the number of officers calling out sick had dropped for first time in 27 days.
‘There is light at the end of that tunnel,’ Shea stated, adding that it was the first day in four weeks that the number of cops returning to work was higher than the number of new cops becoming sick.
Detective Jack Polimeni (left) and School Safety Agent Joseph Donofrio (right) both died from COVID-19 Friday
Despite the two tragic deaths on Friday, there were also some heartening statistics about the state of the nation’s largest police force
Shea also revealed that that PPE supplies for officers has been replenished, and suggested it was unlikely that cops would be required to work 12 hour shifts in order to cover staff shortages.
However, he did warn against complacency, declaring: ‘It’s taken us three or four weeks to reach the peak, but we still have to go down the other side. You are just as likely to get sick now as you were in the beginning’.
He added that around 7,090 uniformed officers – nearly 20% of the force – was still off sick.
The NYPD has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the entire Big Apple.
More than 87,000 New Yorkers have tested positive to COVID-19, and more than 4,000 have died.
As of Friday, 2,700 have tested positive for the coronavirus.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea (left) revealed that 600 cops had returned to work after beating COVID-19. Shea is pictured with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference
he NYPD has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the entire Big Apple
However, Shea’s comments on Friday appeared to echo those made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday, who declared that he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the spread of coronavirus may be slowing across New York.
The number of ICU admissions in New York City dropped for the first time Friday since the beginning of the crisis, and there was a small decrease in the daily death rate.
In light of the figures, Cuomo shared a Winston Churchill quote to Twitter, which read: ‘“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’
‘It’s taken us three or four weeks to reach the peak, but we still have to go down the other side’: Both Commissioner Shea and Gov Cuomo say New York could have reached its peak of COVID-19 infections