Chicago cop’s coronavirus death will be deemed on-duty fatality

The death of a Chicago police officer from coronavirus will be classified as an on-duty fatality, police officials said Friday.

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck announced the decision regarding Officer Marco DiFranco – a 21-year department veteran who died Thursday from COVID-19 – at an event honoring donors to the department, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“And because of that, his family will continue to have the protections of the Chicago Police Department,” Beck said of the ruling. “They will not be destitute. They will be taken care of. They will continue to be a part of the CPD family.”

Beck did not divulge how DiFranco — a 50-year-old narcotics officer who is the first member of the department to die from the bug  — got infected.  The dad of two had multiple underlying medical conditions, WLS-TV reports.

“Unfortunately, the severity of the virus became overwhelming and he passed away with his family by his side,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Thursday. “The searing loss is yet another reminder of the lethal danger of COVID-19.”

Beck, meanwhile, said Friday that the on-duty death classification for DiFranco – who was hospitalized last weekend – was made with consideration that cops and first responders face greater risks to contract the coronavirus than the citizens they serve, the Tribune reports.

“And I think that everybody needs to recognize that these are tough times,” Beck said. “And things that are unimaginable in our past are going to happen. And we need to come together as a society to protect those that protect us.”

At least 74 Chicago cops and two civilian staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 as of late Thursday, CBS Chicago reports.

DiFranco is survived by his wife and two children, ages 10 and 7, as well as his brother, who also works as a narcotics officer. DiFranco’s relatives have been under quarantine, according to the station.

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