Front Lines: First responders beat COVID-19, return to work

Political News
Alex Tull

In this April 23, 2020, photo FDNY paramedic Alex Tull, who has recently recovered from COVID-19, prepares to begin his shift outside EMS station 26, the “Tinhouse”, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The new coronavirus doesn’t care about a blue uniform or a shiny badge.

It’s sickened thousands of America’s first responders and killed dozens more.

But many have recovered, and they’re going back to work — back to the crime scene, back into the ambulance, back to the jail.

Some of their stories from the front lines of the deadly pandemic:

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HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY RAVIN WASHINGTON

In Deputy Ravin Washington’s squad car, risk rides shotgun. The threats she faces on her solo patrols around Houston are usually more immediate than reports of some new unseen virus. But after battling her own case of COVID-19, Washington has to rely on not just a badge and gun but also a mask and gloves to stay safe.

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FDNY PARAMEDIC ALEX TULL

Paramedic Alex Tull of the New York Fire Department feels out of breath after walking up a few flights of stairs and has a cough that just won’t quit. But after two weeks convalescing at home, he had to get back to work. Without definitive proof that he’s immune from spreading or contracting the disease again, Tull fears his nagging cough might infect his partner or their patients.

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AURORA POLICE CHIEF KRISTEN ZIMAN

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman spent hours in a cramped conference room strategizing on ways to keep her 306 police officers safe from the coronavirus. Turns out, they needed to stay away from the chief. Ziman, along with a patrol commander and the city’s mayor, likely contracted COVID-19 during those strategy meetings.

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L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF’S CUSTODY ASSISTANTS SONIA MUNOZ AND CHRISTOPHER LUMPKIN

Los Angeles County sheriff’s custody assistants Christopher Lumpkin and Sonia Munoz likely contracted the coronavirus working shifts in the 184-bed inmate hospital ward at the Twin Towers jail. Lumpkin is back to working in the ward, but Munoz — 10 pounds lighter and her thick uniform belt tightened to its last notch — has been transferred to an office gig where she can line up three bottles of hand sanitizer on her desk.

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Associated Press videojournalist Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, North Carolina, and senior videojournalist John L. Mone in Houston contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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