COVID Surge Worsens In NYC Orthodox Communities

The New York Post reports:

The outer-borough COVID spike is growing. City Hall revealed late Wednesday that the major southern Brooklyn coronavirus outbreak cluster now spans from Brighton Beach all the way to eastern Crown Heights.

Central Queens and Far Rockaway also recorded coronavirus- infection rates of between 3 percent and almost 7 percent based on a two week rolling average that’s continuing to drive the citywide infection rate past 3 percent.

Borough Park’s positive infection rate is at 6.51 percent, up 0.28 percent from Tuesday’s data. Bensonhurst and Mapleton saw a 0.26 percent increase over the same period, bringing the neighborhood to a 6.31 percent average infection rate.

ABC News York reports:

Growing COVID-19 clusters in large Orthodox Jewish communities could spread wider if not quickly contained, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned. Health officials in New York are investigating 20 zip codes where coronavirus hotspots are showing test results above 10% positivity in some cases.

Cuomo said the clusters in Rockland and Orange counties and Brooklyn are the probably the largest clusters in the state since the pandemic.Cuomo said zip code analysis shows an overlap with large Orthodox Jewish communities.

“That is a fact, so I will be directly meeting with them to talk about it. This is a public health concern for their community; it’s also a public health concern for surrounding communities,” he said.

CNBC reports:

Cuomo’s caution for the religious community comes amid the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which began in mid-September, and just before Sukkot, another celebrated Jewish holiday in early October.

The New York governor’s concern is similar to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy who said last week that coronavirus cases could surge after Yom Kippur events. Ocean County and Lakewood Township more specifically reported growing Covid-19 cases that Murphy said were likely due to Rosh Hashana.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio previously issued warnings to the Orthodox Jewish community in early April, calling a funeral for a rabbi that drew thousands of mourners in Brooklyn “absolutely unacceptable.”

Upstate Orthodox communities are also seeing a surge:

An uptick in COVID-19 cases in Orange County is being blamed on a mass gathering at a synagogue in Kiryas Joel. Satmar Headquarters boldly posted photos earlier this month showing what they say were “thousands” of followers attending services without masks or social distancing. Just weeks later, Orange County saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus, says the increase in hospitalizations is directly related to the orthodox community in Palm Tree. The Orange County Executive says his office served papers to the Satmar Headquarters, ordering them to cease large gatherings and follow state guidelines. Leaders of the orthodox community, according to Neuhaus, defiantly replied saying that they only answer to “God and Andrew Cuomo.”