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Red Cross volunteer during 9/11 says pandemic has isolated 9/11 community

'It’s a second time that they are a victim'
Posted at 9:28 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 00:06:19-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many in the "9/11 community" to isolate because of their underlying conditions.

New York attorney Michael Barasch said he has two-thousand clients from the "9/11 community" living in South Florida alone. Nearly 100 of his firm's clients have died from the coronavirus. They all had underlying conditions.

A Red Cross volunteer during 9/1, now living in Miami Beach, said the pandemic has made this anniversary even more difficult.

“I mean, the thing about 9/11 was that you can go out and hug people. People were, they were hugging in the streets, we crying, we were comforting people, we were comforted, you kind of stuck really close together, you know strangers. Here you can’t physically do that,” said Annie O’Connor, who said she developed GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus from her exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

“My heart breaks for these men and women because they suffered so much on 9/11 and now they’re having to relive the whole thing again it’s a second time that they are a victim,” said Michael Barasch, partner with Barasch and McGarry law firm.

Members of the "9/11 community" are encouraged to take advantage of the World Trade Center health program now, even if they are healthy.

The application process, down the line if health issues develop, could be more difficult to prove they lived or worked near Ground Zero.