As coronavirus cases skyrocket once again, 9/11 responders and Barasch & McGarry clients like Jason Srebrenick feel apprehension that their underlying health issues make them more susceptible to the virus. As a carpenter who helped clean out and repair multiple businesses near Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attacks, Jason was exposed to the toxins in the air and the rubble.
Like many responders and survivors, Jason has transitioned into a different career in the years since the attacks. Today, he works as a pest technician, a job classified as essential in the early days of the pandemic. He needs to enter homes and businesses as part of his work and as a result is around people more than he would like.
“I work on the front line. I have to make sure I’m not bringing anything home to my family because right now I’m the only provider for my family,” Jason said in an interview with WNEP News in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, where he and his family now live.
Jason and his family have been diligently following quarantine recommendations and taking precautions from the beginning. While they have managed to stay physically healthy so far, there has been a physical and psychological toll. Wearing a mask, Jason says, makes it hard to breathe because of his 9/11-related respiratory problems. But he does it, for his safety and everyone else’s, despite the fact that sometimes it triggers awful memories of 9/11. “Everything was covered in soot. Smelled like dead bodies. Burning bodies,” he said.
Jason is among many 9/11 responders and survivors alarmed by the recent resurgence of COVID-19 around the nation. Our law firm, which represents more than 20,000 responders and survivors, has heard from many others who are equally concerned. Many of our clients have asthma, COPD, cancer and other post-9/11 illnesses that make them more easily infected by COVID-19 and more likely to die from the virus.
Although vaccines are at last being deployed, the 9/11 community urges the public to continue with safety precautions. Please wear masks, maintain social distance and avoid gathering in large groups. We all want to put this behind us, but please remember the 9/11 heroes. They remain vulnerable, and by following precautions you could help them avoid becoming deathly ill.
If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who is battling COVID-19, or you are a family member of one who has died of the virus, you have until July 29, 2021 to register for the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
Barasch & McGarry is a New York law firm representing 9/11 responders and survivors around the U.S. We can help you register for the VCF and the WTC Health Program and assist you in obtaining other benefits that may be available to you. Call us at 888-351-9421 or contact us online for a free consultation with our team.