Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest ‘cop killer’ has been the coronavirus, not the typical threats police officers face while on the job (Picture: Getty Images)
More police officers in America have died from the coronavirus over the past two years than from any other threat they face on the job – and despite this, many are still reluctant to get vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, nearly 470 law enforcement officials have died from the coronavirus, according to the nonprofit Officer Down Memorial Page.
Covid-19 has been the most common cause of duty-related deaths both this year and last, according to the organization that maintains a list of law enforcement officers who have died while serving.
In 2020, there were 245 officers who died from coronavirus-related illnesses – more than five times the amount that died from gunfire.
More police officers have died of Covid-19 this year than from firearms or traffic related incidents combined (Picture: Getty Images)
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which works to memorialize those who die on the line of duty, released a mid-year report with similar statistics.
According to the nonprofit, more officers died of Covid-19 during the first half of the year than firearm and traffic-related incidents combined. That number has only continued to climb.
While many officers died from coronavirus-related illnesses when the vaccine was not widely available, many have succumbed to the virus after resisting receiving the vaccine.
Patrick Yoes, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, told CBS News: ‘We have members just like the cross section of the population of the United States who do not want to be vaccinated.’
While many police officers died when the vaccine was not widely available, many have also succumbed to coronavirus-related illnesses due to vaccine hesitancy (Picture: Getty Images)
As more police departments decide whether or not to require their staff to be vaccinated, those opposed have pushed back with force.
Over the summer, five police officers in Southern Florida died during a one-week period, as hospitalizations surged.
In Los Angeles, where vaccines are required for city workers, more than 2,600 employees of the police department are looking to be excused through religious exemption, The New York Times reported.
Six police officers have sued the city of Los Angeles over the mandate, claiming it violates their civil rights and creates a ‘hostile work environment’.
The suit comes at a time when law enforcement officials are unvaccinated at disproportionately high rates.
In Chicago, the police union president went as far as vowing to rally against any vaccine mandate.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is testing out a vaccine mandate for state troopers, who, according to their union, are mostly in compliance.
Michael Cherven, the president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, told The Times he believed dozens of troopers may leave their jobs over the issue.
‘We went through the middle of this pandemic working day in and day out,’ he said. ‘We were able to take care of our own through mask wearing, self-isolation and testing. That worked.’
New Jersey State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan shared during a coronavirus briefing that 22 of the 23 police deaths that occurred the week of September 6 were related to Covid-19.
‘I do think the reluctance to get vaccinated has contributed,’ Callahan said. ‘I don’t think I could land on any other conclusion there.’
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