Four City Council members ask Cuomo to shutter NYC subways amid MTA employee COVID-19 deaths

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 19, 2020 - 11:06 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Four New York City Council members are imploring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to temporarily shut down the subway system in light of dozens of MTA employee COVID-19 deaths, according to a report. 

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    City Council members Robert Holden, Eric Ulrich, Mark Gjonaj and Peter Koo wrote a letter to the governor urging him to take “drastic measures… to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our transit system,” the New York Post reported

    As of Saturday, 68 MTA employees had succumbed to the virus, and a total of 2,496 employees had tested positive, according to the outlet — up from 59 deaths and 2,269 positive cases as of Tuesday, April 14. 

    “MTA employees are going to work every day with woefully inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE),” the letter reads. “As a result, MTA workers are dying at a faster rate than any other front-line workers.” 

    Crowding on trains has gotten worse since the MTA announced a number of bus and train service reductions, the City Council members noted in their letter, and “homeless New Yorkers are seeking refuge on the subways and taking over entire train cars, further endangering themselves and others,” they wrote. 

    “Taking all of this information into account, we believe that the New York City transit system is a primary contributor to the spread of COVID-19, and we recommend a temporary closure of the system for at least one week for deep cleaning of trains, buses and stations,” they added.

    An MTA spokesman, however, told the Post a shutdown would be “a dangerous and a terrible idea,” as many health care workers and first-responders use public transit to get to work. 

    The agency had “handed out almost one million masks and more than 5 million gloves” to its employees as of Saturday, he noted.

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