Rise of Covid-19 in Borough Park and Williamsburg raises concerns

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“We have a lot to do as we are seeing a serious increase in several neighborhoods simultaneously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily coronavirus briefing. “And this is something that we have to resolve right away with a very aggressive public health effort.”Some neighborhoods have come under close scrutiny since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic for large gatherings that violated social distancing guidelines. De Blasio personally oversaw the dispersal of a Hasidic burial in Williamsburg in April and withstood criticism over a tweet warning “the Jewish community and all communities” to heed the virus.

Dr Mitchell Katz, head of the city’s public hospital system, said health officials were meeting with religious leaders in hard-hit neighborhoods, making robocalls in English and Yiddish and sending sound trucks flooding the streets with messages about virus guidelines.

Katz said the city hopes to prevent gatherings such as wedding banquets in communities that are experiencing a rise.

“Large indoor activities are a huge problem for the transmission of COVID,” he said.

Katz said her own stepfather died of COVID-19 two nights ago in Israel.

According to the Department of Health, the number of COVID-19 cases in neighborhoods along Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway more than tripled, from 122, in the week ending August 1, to 381 in the week ending September 19.

De Blasio said police would help enforce social distancing guidelines in neighborhoods. Two yeshivas that have seen clusters of coronavirus have been closed, he said.

Spikes in coronavirus infections have also been linked to other types of religious gatherings in New York City, as elsewhere. The Chemung County Lighthouse Baptist Church in the state’s north has been linked to at least 45 cases in six counties.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, said city officials were right to call on the community to “do everything in their power to limit the spread COVID-19 ”, but should not name one in particular. group.

“There are probably people in the Orthodox community, as there are in other groups, including club-amateurs and protesters, who are not following guidelines to curb the spread of the disease,” he said. said Shafran. “They must all realize that it is dangerous, for themselves and for others, not to follow the recommendations of the health authorities.”

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