Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens Anxiety, Fears Of 9/11 Survivors

9/11 Memorial
Photo credit Peter Haskell/WCBS 880
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — For many who survived the Sept. 11 terror attacks and worked at ground zero, the anxiety and fear never go away.

"Our patients are still 18 years later suffering from nightmares related to ground zero and the terrorist attack," said Dr. Jason Kornrich, a psychologist at the World Trade Center Health Program.

Now, the pandemic is aggravating the PTSD he treats.

"These patients are very shooken up now.  They really feel like there is another national disaster which they should be involved in and they should be helping," Kornrich said. "People are feeling shaky to begin with, so this disaster makes it 10 times worse. People feel like their lives are on the line this time from a virus."

He said for many first responders, there's a measure of guilt.

"I think they're going to still be very conflicted and feel very guilty that they're not on the frontlines so much these days, especially our retirees," Kornrich said.

Kornrich tells WCBS 880's Peter Haskell that patients with physical problems are especially vulnerable, which makes it even more difficult.

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