After a week of an exponential rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths across five boroughs of New York City, Sunday figures showed growth rates in cases and deaths are slowing. However, that doesn’t mean social distancing rules are to be relaxed, as the New York City Police Department (NYPD) busted a large group of Hasidic Jews on Sunday in violation of the state’s social distancing rules.
The incident unfolded on 55th Street and 12th Avenue Borough Park, Brooklyn, where mourners gathered for at least one funeral, several other reports indicate there were multiple.
New York Daily News said a funeral was held for Rav Yosef Kalish, 63, who was hospitalized with the virus and died over the weekend.
A video posted on Twitter shows the NYPD arriving to break up the large crowd, in violation of the state’s and city’s social distancing rules. For fear of contracting the virus, police officers stayed inside the vehicle and played a prerecorded message that said:
“This is the NYPD. Due to the current health emergency, members of the public are reminded to keep a safe distance of six feet from others while in public places to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”
?? – The NYPD attempting to disperse a funeral in Boro Park. pic.twitter.com/piAnnrU2Kw
— J News 24 (@JNEWS245) April 5, 2020
New York Daily News said the crowd eventually dispersed.
According to the New York Post, funeral attendees asked the NYPD for more time to grieve for their recent loss. Officers on the scene gave the mourners five additional minutes.
It was evident in the video that many Hasidic Jews were violating the government enforced social distancing rules. Some attendees were wearing surgical masks, but many were not. Not one person was wearing a 3M N95 mask nor goggles or a face shield.
Last month, Hasidic Jews violated social distancing orders by hosting Brooklyn weddings, as the fast-spreading virus was silently ravaging the city, mostly because test kits were lacking. As test kits have become available in recent weeks, confirmed tests have exploded. As of Sunday night (April 5), there are 123,160 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month banned crowds of 50 or more, and President Trump advised Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Cuomo recently said any resident who breaks social distancing rules would be subjected up to $500 fine.