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A mailman who worked in the Bronx has died from the coronavirus, according to the man’s labor union.
In a statement on Thursday, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) announced the death of letter carrier Rakkhon Kim, 50. Kim died on Wednesday “from complications related to COVID-19,” the association said.
Kim, a resident of Northvale, N.J., had celebrated his 23-year anniversary as a mailman in November.
“On behalf of the NALC, we mourn the loss of Brother Kim,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said in a statement. “We send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Rakkhon’s family, loved ones, friends and co-workers.”
This is the first known instance of a New York City letter carrier dying from the virus, according to the New York Post.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some have questioned if you can contract the virus by touching contaminated surfaces, including packages and mail. A recent study conducted by scientists with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) UCLA, and Princeton University found the virus can remain infectious in droplets in the air for hours and surfaces for days.
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine also suggested that people may get the virus “after touching contaminated objects.”
The man spent 23 years working as a letter carrier.
“The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel,” according to the NIH.
That said, the United States Postal Service — citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Surgeon General — said in a statement earlier this month that there is “currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”
New York now leads the country with more than 35,000 COVID-19 cases. Overall, the virus has infected more than 542,788 people across 175 countries and territories, resulting in over 21,571 deaths. In the U.S., all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, tallying over 85,996 illnesses and at least 1,300 deaths, according to Friday morning estimates.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.