First Responders at Work After Covid-19 Worry They Might Get Sick Again

Across the country, hundreds, if not thousands, of first responders have contracted the coronavirus as they helped battle the pandemic. But unlike most Americans, they don’t have the luxury waiting for a full recovery.

With N95 masks swinging from their duty belts and disposable blue gloves hanging out of their back pockets, America’s first responders are in uniform and at work during this pandemic.

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman thinks she was infected during planning sessions to fight the virus in her Chicago suburb. She worked through her illness remotely, then returned to headquarters to lead in person.

New York City paramedic Alex Tull says he probably came back too early. Just walking up a few stairs leaves his short of breath, and he’s worried his residual cough might infect his partner. But he felt guilty sitting on the sidelines while his comrades struggled.

Custody assistant Sonia Munoz is sure she contracted the virus at Los Angeles’ Twin Towers Correctional Facility. And she thinks she took it home to her father. She’s working in an office right now, but she worries that she will eventually have to return to “the line” _ and that she could catch COVID-19 again.

Outside Houston, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Ravin Washington puts on a mask and wipes down her cruiser, which she shares with another officer. She hates wearing the mask, because she thinks it puts just one more barrier between herself and the public. But after suffering through the disease with its fevers and chills, she understands the need.

“I thought it was a game, too,” she said. “It’s real.”

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In This Story: Covid-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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