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Uber driver reportedly dies from COVID-19 after picking up sick passenger

Car with a sticker on the windshield.
Enlarge / The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is seen on the windshield of a vehicle in New York on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

An Uber driver in New York has died as a result of the coronavirus, the New York Post reports.

Anil Subba was a Nepalese immigrant in his 40s who lived in Queens. He had a wife and three children.

According to his cousin, Subba picked up a sick passenger from New York’s JFK airport during the first week of March. The experience scared him enough that he stopped driving for Uber, but it was too late. He developed COVID-19 symptoms and checked himself into the hospital about two weeks ago.

His condition worsened and he had to be hooked up to a ventilator. Two days later, early Tuesday morning, Subba died.

“I’m deeply saddened by this news,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an email statement. “Our hearts go out to Anil’s loved ones and to everyone suffering during this unprecedented time.”

Subba’s death illustrates the precarious situation of Uber and Lyft drivers. Their jobs involve transporting many people every day—some of whom could be carriers of the coronavirus. As independent contractors, they don’t get paid sick days or health insurance coverage.

Uber and Lyft have taken some steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus—and the health threat to drivers. Uber and Lyft have both suspended their carpooling features, Uber Pool and Lyft Line. Uber offers drivers up to 14 days of financial assistance if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are placed in quarantine. Uber also says that it’s working to get cleaning supplies to drivers so they can regularly disinfect their vehicles. However, the company admits that “supplies are very limited.”

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