pandemic was raging and we were getting closer to the anniversary of 9/11, I
wondered how many of the 9/11 survivors have fallen to COVID. Then I came
across this wonderful article posted on the NY Post’s website. It describes
only a few of the cases, just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure before the
pandemic is over more will succumb. I’ve copied it out in its entirety in case,
as time passes, the website posting disappears:
Decimates Ailing Sept. 11 Responders, Workers Say
Carl Campanile August 30,
First they battled 9/11-related illnesses — and now they’re
dead from the coronavirus. Dozens of emergency first-responders and others
who were stricken with underlying illnesses linked to their work around Ground
Zero have succumbed to the pandemic, a top victims’ lawyer told The Post.
“It’s a perfect storm,’’ said Michael Barasch, whose law
firm represents thousands of 9/11 survivors, responders and victims’
kin enrolled with the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund. “The most common
9/11 illness was respiratory disease,” Barasch said. “Your immune system is
“COVID attacks everyone, but the most vulnerable are those
with respiratory illness who can’t fight the virus. … It shouldn’t surprise us
that so many in the 9/11 community are getting COVID and are unable to fight
it. It’s heartbreaking.” The lawyer with Barasch McGarry said 98 of his clients
who recently died either contracted or are suspected of having gotten COVID-19
and that killed them. He said he expects the virus death toll among his clients
to rise, too, making this year’s somber 19th anniversary of the Sept.
11 attacks on Manhattan’s World Trade Center even more grief-filled.
“People in the 9/11 community are scared because they can’t
fight it off. They are literally scared to death,” he said of the virus.
According to Barasch, those with 9/11-related illnesses who
died from COVID-19 include Michael Hankins, 69, a retired marshal from the
Addisleigh section of Queens who was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux
Disease and died from the coronavirus April 2. Hankins responded to Ground Zero
after the 9/11 attacks and spent weeks at a makeshift morgue near there documenting
evidence, such as recovery of body parts or other material, to help identify
the dead. During that time, he met his future wife, Victoria Burton, a retired
police detective, who also performed the same gruesome task for the NYPD.
Burton told The Post that her husband’s health “went south very quickly’’ after
he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Before then, he had been healthy enough to
referee sporting events, she said. Burton said 2020 was going to be the year
for the couple to travel together. “You make plans, but nothing is guaranteed,”
she said sadly.
Arthur Lacker, 72, a driver for a construction company spent
two and a half years helping clear debris from Ground Zero, only to develop
lung cancer and asthma and then die of COVID-19 on April 22. “Artie was a young
72,” said his wife, Robin Lacker, noting he was still working before
contracting the virus. She said she could not see her husband after he was
hospitalized with COVID, given the ban on visitation during the peak of the
pandemic. “The only time I saw him was on a Facebook chat to say
goodbye,’’ she said. “What Artie went through was horrendous,’’ Lacker said —
as she urged New Yorkers to “be respectful of other people. Wear a mask’’ amid
And Beatrice Granberg,
worked as an administrative aide at Standard & Poors near the WTC and was
exposed to toxic air for months before developing lymphoma, then died from
COVID-19 on May 9. She died two weeks after being released from a nursing home
on Staten Island after treatment for her cancer, said her daughter, Lisa
Venosa. The daughter said she believes her mother contracted the coronavirus
while at the nursing home. “My mom survived 9/11, and then she got lymphoma,
and then she got COVID. We still are in disbelief,” Venosa said.