“Mike Greco was worried. In early March 2020, New York City had confirmed its first case of Covid-19, and the vice president of Local 2507, the union representing employees of the city’s emergency medical services (EMS), knew how overworked and exhausted EMS workers already were. At a special City Council hearing on March 5, he testified that EMS was already handling 1.5 million calls a year. “If you were to have another half million calls in a pandemic, you would overwhelm the system,” he said.
Weeks later, the city’s 911 system was inundated. On March 30, it received more than 6,500 calls, its busiest day ever, surpassing September 11, 2001. Response times lagged, and families waited in agony for ambulances. Greco spent months working from 7 am to midnight, making sure Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics had access to personal protective equipment.”
I reported for The Nation on New York City’s emergency medical workers and their long-standing demands of improved pay and benefits. Read the full story here.