The New York Times, in its editorial, criticized the US authorities ’handling of the outbreak of the Corona epidemic among the country’s prison and detention inmates, and said that the US’s continued failure to end the spread of the virus among this vulnerable population is a public health disaster and a moral failure.
The newspaper pointed out that the prisons of the United States, like other regions of the country, witnessed a record high in Coronavirus infections this fall. And at a time when Americans are scrambling to find ways to meet their loved ones or whether they will be able to meet them this holiday season, about two million people in various prisons of the country face a darker challenge about how to survive in a system plagued by the Corona pandemic .
According to the “Marshall Project”, which tracks cases of the deadly virus since March of this year, 13,657 new cases of coronavirus were reported in state and federal prisons across the United States this week.
In the previous week, 13,676 new cases of the virus were recorded in various prisons, which is the highest weekly toll recorded since the beginning of the epidemic, and the situation is likely to get worse by the winter season.
An ideal environment for a pandemic
The New York Times stated that the available information indicates that the number of Coronavirus infections that were reported by mid-November exceeded 196,600 cases in various prisons in the United States, and the epidemic claimed the lives of more than 1,450 prisoners.
She said that the rate of HIV infection among the prison population is 4 times higher than the infection rate for the general population, while the death rate is twice as high.
She indicated that American prisons are an ideal ground for the outbreak of the epidemic, where quarrels over wearing masks, and where social distancing is not possible within the overcrowded facilities, many of which are old, narrow and poorly ventilated, and it is difficult to maintain hygiene standards inside.
The newspaper also warned that the prison inmates are not the only ones besieged by the deadly virus, there are also workers in the Prison Authority, whose number is estimated at more than 685 thousand people – including guards, nurses and clerics – and have recorded among them so far more than 45 thousand and 470 cases of the virus, and 98 deaths .