Story at a glance

  • Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said about 3,200 cops were out sick Wednesday.
  • Nearly 200 uniformed officers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • More than 15,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in New York City.

Thousands of New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers have called off sick, and more than 200 have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. 

Shea said about 3,200 officers were out sick Wednesday, triple the normal rate and constituting 9 percent of the force, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to sweep through New York. 

“Backup plans are already underway,” Shea said during an appearance on MSNBC, as reported by Politico. “We are certainly making adjustments. We are back filling patrols when we need to.”

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According to the commissioner, 177 uniformed members of the NYPD have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, along with at least 34 civilian employees. Shea says that number has grown, but the department did not immediately have an updated number, and not all sick officers have been tested for COVID-19. 

“Has every member of the New York City Police Department been tested? I think that would be unrealistic,” Shea said. Shea recently told the New York Post he doesn’t believe the NYPD has any “breaking point” when it comes to staffing levels.


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NYPD officers have started enforcing social-distancing rules in the city as state and health officials have emphasized the importance of doing so to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Shea said most businesses that have been checked have followed directions to shut down. 

“We’re doing thousands and thousands of inspections every day,” Shea said. “The majority of New Yorkers recognize that we’re in unprecedented times. They’re responding accordingly.”

New York City has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 15,000 cases and more than 190 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters Wednesday the city is planning to close select streets and could further close public parks and playgrounds in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.


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Published on Mar 25, 2020