FDNY commissioner confirms 46 firefighters infected with coronavirus, enough protective gear for 'very short period'

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The New York City Fire Department has only a few weeks worth of crucial protective gear left while dozens of firefighters have been infected with coronavirus, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told "Bill Hemmer Reports" Monday.

"Our number right now stands at 46 [infected]," Nigro told host Bill Hemmer in a phone interview. He added that the department had enough protective equipment for a "very short period of time ... weeks of supply, not months or more."

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The commissioner said he had urged firefighters to stay home if they feel unwell, but admitted to Hemmer that he had also told them, "but if they have no symptoms, we need them to come to work, and that's exactly what they're doing."

Nigro said the FDNY continues to answer a steady flow of emergency calls as New York City adjusts to a so-called "stay at home" order that took effect Sunday night.

"Our calls continue to grow," he said. "They have been ratcheting up for the last few weeks. And, of course, many of them are for respiratory issues. Not all of them are for this COVID-19 virus but many of them are."

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Nigro added that he has been watching livestreams posted by friends in Italy who are under complete lockdown as the virus ravages that country, and added that New York City scenes are are beginning to look just as "surreal."

"Now we have it right here -- the same thing -- in formerly busy areas like Times Square. It is still, for my liking, too many people out and about. I would like to see fewer and fewer people out because that is how we are going to beat this."