THE first Rikers Island inmate has died from coronavirus today – weeks after the first cases of the killer bug emerged in the notorious NYC prison.
The 53-year-old prisoner died at a Manhattan hospital Sunday after hundreds New York inmates were released to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, reports say.
The prisoner had been admitted to the New York medical facility on March 26, according to PIX11.
An anonymous official told the New York Times the prisoner had been on Rikers – which holds 5,294 inmates – since February 28 before he died at Bellevue Hospital.
The deadly bug has rapidly infected detainees and staff over the past few weeks as jails and prisons across the country scramble to mitigate the spread.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the detainee's family in their time of grief," Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Peter Thorne said.
"The safety and well-being of those in our custody remains our number one priority."
Around 273 inmates at city jails and 321 correction staffers contracted the killer bug as of April 5, according to the department.
Coronavirus has claimed the lives of four Correction employees so far as the US death toll rapidly approaches the 10,000 mark as of April 5.
The state is considering the release of hundreds more in the Empire State as mobsters, killers, drug traffickers, and rapists appeal to be let out amid coronavirus fear.
The news comes after Brooklyn attorney Scott Hechinger warned there would be "mass death" due to the "unimaginably bad" conditions on the island prison, which briefly held convicted rapist, Harvey Weinstein, who has since tested positive.
Hechinger urged Mayor De Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and District Attorneys to "do something ASAP" to prevent "mass deaths" there.
"People trapped on Rikers right now are sleeping close enough to reach out and touch the next person," he wrote. "[They] are being served food on dirty food trays."
"There is one toilet for every 29 people trapped on Rikers Island right now," Hechinger said, adding that people who want to be tested are not.
Hechinger alleged Weinstein's former fellow inmates are crowded together there, four people to a table, as they eat.
The news comes after repeated warnings from health experts and President Trump about social distancing.
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