Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park have been fighting against the increasingly colder weather with tougher tents and calls for more donations of blankets, coats and hats.
But now the demonstrators are dealing with a new problem — germs.
It’s called “Zuccotti lung” and more and more, those living in Zuccotti Park have been catching it, reports the New York Times.
It’s easy to see how quickly a cold or other illnesses could develop and spread.
The park is full of people living in close, cramped quarters with no showers and often sharing things like drinks, utensils and cigarettes while sometimes being drenched with rain and even snow, as they were during October’s rare snowstorm.
Residents in the area have been worried about health issues in Zuccotti Park since the encampment began.
Recently, concerns have been raised about the noise generated from the constant drumming in the park.
During a round of drumming, noise expert Alan Fierstein used a decibel reader and recorded an ear-splitting reading of more than 121 decibels — compared to only 79 before the drums started up.
“It will reduce your threshold of hearing. In other words, it gives you temporary hearing loss. Continued long enough, it becomes permanent hearing loss,” Fierstein said.
City Council member Margaret Chin said she has been inundated with noise complaints from her constituents who live near Zuccotti Park.
Residents have also complained about protesters urinating in the street, inside the park or in alleys.
After a meeting between a community board and Occupy Wall Street representatives, off-site portable toilets were donated for the protesters to use to try to combat those issues.
Since the encampment began, the owners of the park Brookfield Office Properties, have expressed concern about conditions there.
“Sanitation is a growing concern,” Brookfield said in a statement back in October.
The camp generates mountains of trash that quickly pile up around the park.