1 in 4 transport workers on COVID-19 contract – NBC New York


Up to one in four New York City transit workers may have contracted the coronavirus, according to a new survey by researchers at New York University.

The study commissioned by the transport workers union surveyed more than 600 workers to better understand how the virus is spread and how things can be improved to keep them safe. Almost 24% of transit workers who responded say they have had COVID-19, contradicting NYC Transit officials who say there is only a 7% infection rate.

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg pushed back the study, saying, “They seemed to have taken a small group of employees who sent out a survey to whoever answered and they ended up with a different number than we did. Have done. ”

But MTA critics say the agency has ignored the impact of the virus that has killed more than 100 of its workers.

“Our members were afraid of dying,” said MTA conductor Chris Drummond. In March, he was among the employees who tested positive for COVID-19.

“You would see people one day and the next day you would hear that they were dead or on a ventilator,” he said.

The NYU survey also showed that 90% of transit workers said they feared getting sick on the job, and more than 70% said they feared for their safety at work, especially when they are dealing with violent passengers or when they have to enforce state rules. mandate mask.

Earlier this month, a man reportedly threw hot coffee at an MTA bus driver after the worker asked him to cover his face. There have been several such incidents during the seven months of the pandemic as well as other attacks on workers. In September, an MTA driver was pushed onto the tracks; He was one of three MTA workers attacked within 24 hours, the transport agency said.

“We put the city on our shoulders when the pandemic hit, and we are still chasing it. It has been a heavy burden, ”said TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano in response to the inquiry.

“There are now more protective measures against the virus in place than when the crisis started, but we cannot let go. We need to stay vigilant and get the passengers ahead by day, ”Utano said, adding that transit workers should be given priority when a vaccine becomes available.

There are hundreds of ongoing litigation regarding COVID cases of employees against the MTA, according to Joe Romano, a workers’ compensation lawyer.

Tramell Thompson says he knows he contracted the virus while at work in March. Despite a positive test and a recent judgment, Thompson is still involved in a dispute with the transit agency.

In a statement to Thompson’s claims, MTA spokesman Tim Minton said, “This disgruntled employee continues to make false statements and the MTA is appealing the decision based on the facts. ”

As for the discrepancies in the number of transit workers testing positive, NYU researchers say there could be several reasons, including the fact that the survey
was conducted two months after the release of antibody test results in May. The study also did not include an antibody test and was based solely on self-reported responses.


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