The United States is seeing one of the largest coronavirus prison outbreak with around 38 people being detected positive for the new virus in New York City. According to the authorities, people from the Riker complex and other nearby facilities were tested positive for the virus. Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman told the NYC's criminal justice leaders that the jail system is under threat.
Sherman said that some of the Department of Correction employees, Correctional Health Services employees and people in custody at Rikers and city jails had tested positive for Covid-19. She also said that around 58 people are being monitored in the prison's contagious disease and quarantine units. Sherman said that the cases might skyrocket in the coming weeks.
The downplaying of the actual numbers?
According to the Associated Press, the New York officials have downplayed the number of cases in the jails. The number of cases has increased since the city's Department of Corrections officials said that one inmate was tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
Sherman has requested the Department of Correction, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, New York's Acting Commissioner, and district attorney to be considerate of the people over the age of 50 and people who are vulnerable to the disease for early release. She also asked the authorities to consider the people who have been arrested for administrative reasons like the violation of parole.
Meanwhile, a man incarcerated in New York became the first case in a federal facility. The man is presently in isolation after being released from the hospital.
In the US more than 2.2 million people are incarcerated for various crimes. There are fears that an outbreak could rapidly spread to the inmates and staff at a high rate. Other places like Michigan, California, and Pennsylvania has said that several in the facilities have been infected by the new coronavirus.
Measures administered by Mayor de Blasio
Earlier last week the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio said that the prosecutors were working towards the release of the people who could be released and by March 20 they had recognised more than 50 inmates who could be released.
The mayor had also halted all visits to the facilities after the first case of Covid-19 was reported by the Department of Corrections earlier this month. The Mayor said that All in-person visits will be suspended "to reduce exposure to the virus inside city jails."