New York (AFP)
Coronavirus infection rates have risen at “an alarming rate” in several New York neighborhoods, particularly among Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, city health officials warned on Sunday, threatening to sanction some schools if they fail to do so. do not comply with anti-virus regulations.
Although the Big Apple said it was keeping its infection rate below one percent for more than a month, six neighborhoods in Brooklyn and two in Queens saw their rates soar, topping five to six percent in Midwood and Gravesend.
The increase coincides with the high Jewish holidays, the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, which culminate Monday with Yom Kippur.
“These areas account for over 23 percent of new cases citywide … although they make up just under seven percent of the city’s total population,” New York City Health Services said. in a press release.
They added that the data showed an increase in the number of inpatients at two hospitals in Brooklyn and at least one hospital in Queens.
The increase raised fears of a second wave in New York City, which reported a record 23,800 Covid-19 deaths when the epidemic peaked in the spring.
Health officials held a press conference in one of Brooklyn’s worst-hit neighborhoods, Borough Park, on Friday.
“This is perhaps the most precarious position with Covid-19 that we have known in months,” said Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi, urging people to wear face masks and to respect distancing measures social.
But he and his colleagues were booed by at least two people in the crowd, including an Orthodox Jewish radio host known for his anti-mask stance, Heshy Tischler, an NBC video showed.
“There are people who refuse to believe the truth, it is a deadly virus and we have easy ways to avoid it,” said Mitchell Katz, head of the New York City Health System.
– Back to school? –
Health authorities have announced a series of educational activities for residents of the neighborhood in the coming days.
With the reopening of public schools slated for Oct. 1, authorities also warned that they would conduct inspections of non-public schools – including many yeshivas, or Jewish schools with a religious vocation – and would shut down facilities and impose penalties. fines if necessary.
But restarting in-person learning has been a touchy topic and has already been postponed twice as more parents of some 1.1 million New York public school students opt for distance learning instead.
The Board of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) has called for the management of the school system – traditionally under the responsibility of the mayor in the United States – to be transferred to New York State Education Services during the pandemic.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged to hire some 4,500 additional teachers to facilitate in-person and online learning.
But according to the CSA, a union that claims to represent around 6,400 officials from the city’s 1,800 public schools, he and school chancellor Richard Carranza have failed to hire enough teachers.
It is not known if the schools will reopen on October 1 as planned. De Blasio and the State Department of Education did not respond to the CSA statement.
© 2020 AFP