More than 800 members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) have tested positive for the coronavirus as the illness spreads throughout New York City.
As of Sunday, March 29, 2020, 818 members of the nation’s biggest police force had tested positive for coronavirus, including 730 uniformed officers and 88 civilian staffers, according to NYPD. The department said about 5,000 of its 55,000 total employees are on sick leave.
The new figures are a jump from earlier this week when 211 NYPD members tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
New York City has emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., having more than 25,500 confirmed cases and 366 deaths among all five boroughs alone.
New York State’s death toll from coronavirus topped 1,000 on Monday, March 30, 2020, less than one month after the first known infection. Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed there are 66,487 total coronavirus cases in the state with 1,218 deaths – up from 965 on Sunday.
Major city police departments nationwide, such as Houston and Detroit, are being forced to sideline officers as infections rise in the ranks, according to a survey of the nation’s 20 largest U.S. police agencies conducted between March 25 and March 29. The police agencies have confirmed 1,012 cases of COVID-19 among officers or civilian staff, according to the survey.
Complaints over shortages of protective gear are growing in major police departments. The Dallas Police Department, for instance, has issued N95 masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to its more than 3,000 officers. But the police union president says it’s not enough. Many officers, he said, are using the same mask for days even though N95 masks are not meant to be reused.