AOC criticizes JetBlue for NYC flyover to honor coronavirus health workers, first responders

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., condemned the use of three JetBlue aircraft that flew over New York City Thursday as a tribute to the medical community and first responders working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

JetBlue used three planes donned with New York City themes for a one-hour flyover over all five boroughs. The planes -- "I love NY," NYPD and FDNY -- were a tribute to first responders and "hometown health care heroes," the airline said.

“Nothing like a corporate PR campaign that burns jet fuel at low altitudes over vulnerable communities dying from a respiratory virus that compounds on our preexisting and disproportionate exposure to air pollution to show healthcare workers we care,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

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Responses to the flyover were varied on Twitter. While some social media engagers appreciated the gesture, others had a negative reaction to the nature of the salute.

One user suggested the flyover might traumatize 9/11 survivors and waste bailout money.

"Let's fly some commercial jets low over Manhattan," the user wrote. "My notes only go back to Sept. 12, 2001 so I assume this is a great idea!"

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The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds performed flyovers over New York City last week, and they are headed to Texas and Louisiana next.

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New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., with over 178,000 cases and nearly 17,000 deaths.