The New York Times reports:
Facing a worrying spike in coronavirus cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, New York City health officials began carrying out emergency inspections at private religious schools on Friday and threatened to impose an extraordinary lockdown in those communities that would be the first major retreat by the city on reopening since the pandemic began.
Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office to enforce public health guidelines in several Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, where residents often do not wear masks or engage in social distancing.
But community leaders said residents have been resisting the guidelines because of hostility toward Mr. de Blasio and the growing influence of President Trump, whose views on masks and the pandemic have been widely embraced.
An event in Brooklyn aimed at raising awareness about the alarming cluster of COVID cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods was cut short on Friday, after a pair of anti-mask activists hurled personal insults at health officials and shouted racial epithets.
But almost as soon as the event began, the Orthodox radio host Heshy Tischler stormed the podium and accused Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test & Trace program, of lying about the increase in infections. “Your violent Nazi storm troopers are coming in here to violate us,” he shouted. “That’s all you’re here for!”
As that was happening, a second man confronted Dr. Mitchell Katz, the leader of the city’s public hospital system. “Get the fuck out of here,” he said. “Go to your fucking nice house some place.” When a mayoral staffer approached the man with a surgical mask, he rejected it. “I don’t want a mask. It’s my freedom.”
Orthodox Anti-Maskers Crash NYC COVID Outreach, Scream Racial Epithetshttps://t.co/VIx8qYk5ea
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) September 25, 2020