New York City health officials are alarmed at the fast pace of the spread of the coronavirus in the close-knit Hasidic communities of Brooklyn, as more than 240 Hasidic Jews have tested positive this week in Borough Park and Williamsburg.
According to Asisa Urgent Care, which serves the Hasidic communities of both neighborhoods, these positive results came from a total of 481 tests, with as many as 99% of them from the Orthodox Jewish community. A spokesperson for the agency said “the numbers are only getting higher.”
On Wednesday, Haredi reporter Jacob Kornbluh tweeted the video of an outdoor Orthodox wedding with “many participants in a cramped backyard.”
This is not cool. An outdoor wedding with that many participants in a cramped backyard a just as dangerous pic.twitter.com/LM351s1rxI
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) March 18, 2020
But Mayor Bill de Blasio and the health department officially denied on Wednesday the existence of a “Hasidic cluster” of coronavirus patients, insisting the number of cases has been growing across the city, and not just in Borough Park and Williamsburg.
The explanation for the frightening spike may be the result of the method of testing: across NY state, the number of new coronavirus cases has, indeed, grown exponentially, but the reason may be that out of 14,597 NY residents who have been tested, a whopping 5,000 were tested on Tuesday – which explains why the number of new cases changed so rapidly, from 1,000 to 2,382.