With deaths in New York State from the coronavirus approaching 1,000 by this weekend — with more than three-quarters of them in the city — residents of London Terrace in Chelsea paid their respects to all the New Yorkers on the front lines of the battle to contain the contagion and keep down the numbers of deaths. At 7 p.m., cheers and applause poured out of the windows of apartments throughout the complex that runs from Ninth to 10th Avenues between 23rd and 24th Streets.
Those on the front lines are putting their own lives at risk, as the March 24 death of Kious Kelly, an out gay nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital, showed. Multiple colleagues of Kelly were vocal and angry, saying he was infected because the hospital lacked sufficient personal protective equipment — claims the hospital has disputed.
Many of those applauding from their apartments in London Terrace were gay men, who are barred by US Food and Drug Administration policy from donating blood — due to an outdated and discriminatory policy based on fear of HIV — at a time when the city and the nation are facing a blood supply crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping many frequent donors away from the blood banks.
Those gay men on Saturday night showed they respect and applaud the work and sacrifice of so many New Yorkers at this moment.