Mayor De Blasio Says Increase In Brooklyn Neighborhood Tied To Wedding That Was Bigger Gathering Than What Is Permitted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Mayor Bill de Blasio sounded the alarm Wednesday about another neighborhood in Brooklyn seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

He said the city is working to identify people who attended a large wedding in Borough Park. Some of the positive cases stem from that event, which the mayor said was much larger than the 50 people technically allowed to attend, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Borough Park is the latest part of the city to experience a rise in coronavirus cases. The mayor said there has been a recent uptick of 16 in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood and he’s urging people to get tested, especially considering some of the illnesses stem from that recent wedding.

“There is a nexus to one particular event that we are looking at carefully and doing the disease detective work on through test and trace. That’s what’s causing the particular concern, an event that was larger than it should have been and one that we are following up on right now,” de Blasio said.

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The mayor stressed that overall New York City is doing “so well” in its coronavirus vigilance. The latest data shows the number of city residents who tested positive is 0.24%, the lowest infection rate since the pandemic started in March.

Brooklyn community activist Isaac Abraham said he knows the dangers of COVID-19, having lost 33 close friends and family members to the virus. However, he said he believes, in the case of Borough Park, the mayor is purposely picking on the Jewish community.

“Let me not downplay the COVID virus. It’s very serious,” Abraham said. “We were looking at two solid months of rallies and demonstrations and violence, not a word, not one spike? And he’s going to tell me that he’s not picking on somebody or he’s not selecting a particular group?”

Back in April, the mayor called out Jews in Williamsburg for gathering outside for a funeral.

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The increase in Borough Park comes on the heels of a coronavirus uptick in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a predominantly Hispanic community. The mayor visited that neighborhood on Tuesday, again to raise awareness about testing.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The city said more than 5,000 tests have been conducted in the last few weeks in Sunset Park alone, but the positive cases there stem from individual households, not a cluster.

“What we are seeing in, for example, in Sunset Park and what we’ve been seeing, for example, in Borough Park is an increase in the number of cases above what we would expect. But, we can’t link it right now to a single common exposure,” Dr. Jay Varna said.

The mayor was asked if any disciplinary action will be taken in regards to that recent Borough Park wedding. He said the city will figure out what to do to address the situation, but added he’s most concerned right now with identifying people who need to be tested.

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