This Jail Was a Deadly Mess. Then Omicron Arrived.


Gary Hershorn/Getty

“What we’re hearing now is: ‘Everybody is getting sick.’”

For months, Elizabeth Fischer and other public defenders in New York City have been arguing for the release of inmates from the notorious jail on Rikers Island, pointing to documented issues with the staffing of corrections officers and timely medical care. But even during a uniquely violent year behind bars—16 people have died in city jails, the most since 2016—those arguments haven’t always been very successful.

What is new right now, she said, is a level of anxiety and fear that is reminiscent of the earliest days of the pandemic, fueled by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus in New York City and beyond.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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