Illicit Wedding In Borough Park Linked To Uptick In Coronavirus Infections – Gothamist

Posted By on August 24, 2020

An uptick in coronavirus cases in Borough Park has been linked in part to a large wedding attended by members of Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox community, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.

Health officials recorded 16 new COVID-19 cases within the neighborhood in recent days, de Blasio said. As a result, the city will deploy more testing and community outreach in Borough Park, a targeted effort similar to the one rolled out in Sunset Park, after that neighborhood saw a spike in cases earlier this month.

"Were seeing some cases, more cases, but certainly dont want to call it a cluster," the mayor said, describing the new infections as "an early warning sign."

Indoor gatherings such as weddings are currently limited to 50 people, with a cap at 50 percent of a space's maximum capacity. At least some of the Borough Park cases can be traced back to a recent "large wedding" that violated those rules, according to the mayor.

Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods saw some of the highest early concentration of COVID-19 infections. Hasidic news media reported that some 700 members of the close-knit community died in the early weeks of the virus.

But prohibited gatherings within the community, including weddings and funerals, became a flash point during the peak of the coronavirus in New York City, leading to several NYPD confrontations.

A member of the Hasidic Jewish community, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, said there was a sense among some of his neighbors that they were now immune to the virus, following the devastating wave in the spring.

The source said that "large weddings with zero-to-no distancing" were not an anomaly within the religious community. "There's been effectively zero spread mitigation in this community since May," he added.

Asked about possible repercussions for the venue, de Blasio said the city was less focused on meting out discipline than tracking down attendees of the wedding.

"Were going to figure out what we can do to address the situation retrospectively, but Im really more concerned about going forward, we got to identify the folks at that wedding and make sure that any spread is contained," he said.

The city's positive test rate for COVID-19 remains well below 1 percent, though officials say New Yorkers should expect a second wave of infections some time in the next few months.

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Illicit Wedding In Borough Park Linked To Uptick In Coronavirus Infections - Gothamist

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