The desire to return to normal life after nearly a year of quarantine, home schooling and business shutdowns is stronger than ever. News that multiple vaccines are on the way is exciting, but health care authorities still caution that America is headed into a dark winter with COVID-19 cases spiking to higher levels than ever. Even after a vaccine is approved, it will take months to distribute it to all Americans, which means until then we must continue to carefully follow safety precautions to try to limit the spread of the virus.
The combination of “COVID fatigue” — the exasperation and exhaustion so many of us are experiencing after months of being cooped up — and the seeming nearness of a vaccine appears to be making too many Americans careless. This is shown in the virus’ resurgence across the country. In December, California issued its strictest stay-at-home order since the pandemic began, in a bid to keep already struggling hospitals from being totally overwhelmed with COVID cases. New York, New Jersey and the surrounding areas are seeing near-record numbers of new cases. On Dec. 3, New York state reported 9,853 new cases, the most on any single day since April 25. New Jersey reported 4,913 cases that day, a new record for the state.
As a law firm that represents more than 20,000 9/11 first responders and survivors, we are very concerned about COVID-19 and its effects on the 9/11 community. Responders and survivors suffer from severe illnesses, including 68 kinds of cancer, dozens of respiratory diseases and various immune system compromises that make them especially vulnerable to the virus. More than 100 of our clients have died of COVID-19 so far. It’s heartbreaking.
We urge everyone to continue to heed the safety measures even though we’re all tired of them. By doing so, we can each do our part in keeping our 9/11 heroes safe, along with keeping so many millions of other vulnerable people safe, too.
Please remember how the heroes of 9/11 ran toward the danger on the day of the attacks, then spent days, weeks and months cleaning up a site that was riddled with toxic debris. They sacrificed so much for us. Now we can repay them by doing much easier things than they had to do. We can protect them by wearing masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance.
Barasch & McGarry’s New York legal team is committed to helping all members of the 9/11 community. If you are a responder, survivor or you are a family member of a 9/11 hero who is sick or has died, talk to us about enrolling in health programs and potential eligibility for compensation. Call 888-351-9421 or you can contact us online. We do not charge any fee for an initial consultation.