FealGood Foundation asks 9/11 first responders to heed advice of experts, stay inside during COVID-19 outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak is hitting hard for Long Island 9/11 first responders who have underlying conditions.
John Feal, from the FealGood Foundation, contracted the coronavirus and recovered, but says he is lucky to be alive.
"Every bone in my body hurt, my skin hurt, I lost my smell, I lost my taste ... fever and chills," says Feal.
He is worried about those like him because they continue to lose 9/11 responders from their illnesses and COVID-19. Sept. 11 first responders are especially an at-risk population because of the respiratory disease some developed as a result of the attacks.
"We are exposed, we are compromised, and we need to heed the advice of the experts, but even while I was sick and even while I was hurting, even while I thought I was going to die, I've been helping local hospitals and police departments and precincts, with food and protective equipment; and we're going to continue to help those who are on the last line of defense," he says.
Dr. Benjamin Luft leads Stony Brook's World Trade Center wellness program, which takes care of thousands of Long Island residents who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses. He says many are sick because of COVID-19 and some have died because of it.
"It is a very significant problem, three of our patients have gone on to die as a result of the virus," says Luft. "And when you think about it, these individuals were in their 50s and early 60s."
Feal says people need to stay home, listen to the experts and use common sense.
"9/11 responders are compromised with serious respiratory illnesses, lower upper restrictive airway, cancer, pulmonary fibrosis that can go along with a laundry list. We need to heed the advice of these doctors and not go out there and be exposed to this virus, which will kill you," he says.
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