Brooklyn’s Orthodox Neighborhoods Have Especially High Rates Of The Coronavirus

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Two Orthodox Jewish men wear face masks in New York City, March 31, 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Four heavily Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn have especially high rates of the novel coronavirus, according to data released by this city’s Department of Health.

The record of positive COVID-19 tests in the five boroughs shows that Borough Park, Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Midwood all have above-average positive test rates. In Borough Park, more than 67% of coronavirus tests have come back positive — the highest rate in Brooklyn and sixth-highest of any Zip code in New York City.

In Crown Heights, 63.4% of tests are positive, while in Williamsburg the figure is 62.5% and in Midwood it is 60.3%. The average positive test rate across the city is 53%.

The five city Zip codes with the highest positive test rates are in Queens, with the Corona neighborhood topping the list at more than 77%. Many of those neighborhoods are home to working-class New Yorkers whose jobs do not allow them to stay home.

Borough Park also has the third-highest raw number of positive tests of any neighborhood in the city with 771, and total tests with 1,146. In both cases, it’s behind only Corona and Elmhurst, adjacent neighborhoods in Queens.

An analysis by The City, a local New York publication, found that testing across neighborhoods has been proportional to their populations. Social distancing has been a particularly stark shift for Hasidic Jews, who make up a significant share of the population in Borough Park, Williamsburg and Crown Heights.

Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, men are accustomed to attending communal prayers three times a day, and social lives revolve around synagogue and lifecycle celebrations like weddings. Haredi families are also larger than average and tend to live in dense neighborhoods in the city.

In some haredi neighborhoods, social distancing measures like school closings came later than in the rest of the city.

Israel is experiencing an even more extreme phenomenon, as more than a third of the total population of the haredi city of Bnei Brak is estimated to have coronavirus, according to the Times of Israel.

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55 COMMENTS

    • Nope. Some of them, such as Crown Heights, were actually pretty quick to listen. But you have a lot of asymptomatic carriers, and (until the rabbonim ordered the shuls and private minyanim closed) you had lots of people together, particularly on Purim.

    • Stop bashing Yiddishe communities. Enough! Yidden have large families so the rate is 10% higher. Big deal. Just stop by the bashing. Go to Queens and other zip codes where they have 77% positive coronavirus tests and figure out why in those neighborhoods the figure is so high. I bet you in other minority neighborhoods the percentage is much higher. Stop highlighting our neighborhoods. It’s ridiculous and you, the frum media and Jewish Chareidim bashers, are fueling anti-Semitism.

    • To: Paul in the Philadelphia area- Why don’t you also bash the minority Black and Brown communities in Queens, other areas of Brooklyn, and Manhattan, who have even higher rates of infection?

  1. Democrat & media murderers called Trump’s suggestion to try hydrox as snake oil. Listen to doctors , science, charts and labs. Oh, what does he know..!
    Guess what? It’s working all across the globe, but these demons want dead people, the more to remove our president.
    Thank you Dr. Zelenko and others for thinking out of the box.

      • But Dems in Michigan and Arizona did, at least until they had to desperately reverse themselves and beg for supplies of it. You know, there’s more to the country than just New York.

      • Wrong, the Governor issued an Executive Order on March 23, 2020, prohibiting any Doctor from prescribing Hydroxychloroquine without the patient having already tested positive. However, the to the prescription being affective is if anyone over the age of 60 or with pre-existing conditions, or shortness of breath, begins treatment, the 3-5 day wait for testing could mean the difference between life and death. Also now, the Governor issued directives that hospitals may allow DNR or DNI without informing family, and many NY hospitals have now implemented protocols to unplug patients who are not responsive after 5-7 days.

    • Please provide details exactly which country it is working in? Other than limited anecdotal evidence no one knows for sure if this actually does anything. Sorry it must be hard for anti-science folks like you (who likely also ignored what the media, scientists, and doctors warning about this from before Purim) to understand what is being said versus making stuff up in your head. Everyone hopes it will work and it seems promising, but Zelenko’s numbers are not proof of much.

      The NY Times says he himself admits he has no idea if it actually works. Also some other info per the NY Times article… While he says he has 900+ patients with symptoms, he provided his treatment to 350 of them and 6 are in the hospital.

      Depending on exactly his screening procedures, how quick people who really get sick are affected by this, and other unknowns really hard to say if his results are not much different than doing nothing.

      • Well, let’s put it this way: there’s more evidence for it working than there is for “climate change.”

        And if it were Obama, for example, who had suggested it, you’d be all gung-ho for it and nominating him for another Nobel Prize. But because it was brought up by Trump, you don’t really care if there’s blood on your hands and on the hands of those who denied the use of it in their states, and even as more and more evidence mounts up – besides from Dr. Zelenko, also from Dr. Raoult – rather than go against you religious dogma that Orange Man Bad.

        • Would be nice if you actually looked at the details of the studies or other evidence you say proves this works.

          As to blood on hands of anyone, I would look at Trump who as recent as 3/9/2020 was calling this a flu. You can see from weeks before then, Dr. Fauci warning about this, so not like Trump was not advised about this. It just was not until Tucker Carlson begged him to take it seriously that he finally did.

          Btw, cute your reference to Obama… Quite funny how supporting Trump somehow makes it okay for you to add politics to something. In any case, very typical of a Trump supporter to somehow drag Obama into Trump’s mess. Only in this case, people are dying due to Trump’s lies.

          • So far we’ve got over 6000 doctors who are recommending it and using it, and it has shown a great deal of success. But I guess you think you know better than them – or rather, you don’t care whether you do, because it’s more important to you to deny Trump any credit. Your notion that I, rather than you, are the one “bringing politics into it” doesn’t even pass the laugh test, when you’ve posted any number of anti-Trump diatribes on this site.

          • Your reading comprehension is really poor. Never once did I recommend against using this. All I said, and this is what virtually the entire medical community, including Dr. Zelenko himself acknowledges, is that they don’t actually know if this works. Stop being stupid and only getting your info from a person who constantly lies about everything (Trump). Maybe learn to understand how and why the medical community takes this approach. There are plenty of missteps with disastrous consequences through history when assumptions are made without proper testing.

        • This is just stupid. Democrats are behind trying this protocol as it seems it has some promise. You are all twisting words and lying about what is being said (I don’t care if you find individuals here and there that say something critical or stupid, I am talking about the vast majority… it is ridiculous that I need to specify this but if I don’t you will always find one person that says something ridiculous and you will reference it as being evidence that all democrats say that). Just get off your high-horse as this is an unproven treatment with little solid evidence that it actually works (despite Zelenko’s success with this). I don’t know how many times throughout history, promising treatments when subjected to proper trials fail to live up to their hype. There is another issue that there simply is not enough of these drugs available currently to just prescribe it to everyone that coughs. No one is trying to kill anyone, just trying to deal with a crisis with limited resources.

  2. The only thing that’s more widespread than coronoavirus in the frum neighborhoods of New York is the resulting Chilul Hashem. Unlike the virus, the chilul is not limited by geographic boundaries

  3. NOTICE – the normal rational yidden that make up Englewood, Passaic, 5 Towns, Young Israel, YU etc. that took the suggestion of the health experts seriously do not have these percentages. These communities closed their shusl early on (remember the Vaad of NJ) and put into practices safe social distancing.
    The haredi community laughed it off and nebach because of Purim we are paying a huge price. Most have now saw the light and are at least trying to do the right thing. However, we still have our nutcase or may we call them arrogant individuals, Rebbes and Rabbis that still do not get it, willing to take chances on lives and not practice social distancing They know better than ALL the doctors put together.
    How many lives could have been saved if we just listened to the health experts? Hashem Yerachim

    • Other article said the medical experts and no one knew… Real mystery how those who took precautions going back to Purim and earlier figured this out. I mean Trump said it was a flu and the doctors all warning about this were just Democrat shills, so who should people have listened to? Sean Hannity and Breitbart said it was nothing. So if Sean, Breitbart, and Trump said it is not an issue, which expert do you dare suggest knows better than them. Even one prominent Rabbi I heard called Coronavirus before Purim fake news. Mamash straight from Trump, melech hamashiach.

      • Dishonest: plenty of other people, including prominent Democrats such as Pelosi and De Blasio, were also saying at the time that there’s little or nothing to worry about, and that people should join the Chinese New Year celebrations, etc. So maybe you should be putting the blame there.

        • Chinese New Year was at a time when there were virtually no cases in the US. Truly how stupid are you? Purim was about a month and a half later, well after Dr. Fauci (not the President) was warning about this and yes the CDC had warned about it as well. Nevermind we had New Rochelle as an example of how quick this will spread in shul.

      • I knew before Purim. I made sure to be well stocked with hand sanitizers, we were careful to maintain distance all day and we were also laughed at by our relatives in Brooklyn. I was shocked at how many people chose to have their regularly Purim parties (not referring to seudas) “No one knew”?? I knew! And I have the same access to information that anyone else has…

    • Those “normal rational yidden” are so “rational” that they don’t congregate in their shuls in such large numbers in the first place. Spare us that kind of “rationality.”

    • Sholom Katz whether you are right or wrong about whether people did the right thing and should have or shouldn’t have gotten together I will not discuss, but I am commenting that you should be careful about degrading Rabbonim, especially publicly and especially on a very public medium. If you choose not to listen to a Rav that is your prerogative. However, to publicly degrade anyone especially a Rov I am moiche. Please stop with the motzi Shem ra and Lisbon hora and in that zchus we should merit to be saved!!!!

      • Maybe the issue is not so much with the Rabbi’s but people who decided they were infallible and should be listened to about a medical issue when clearly they were wrong and they were not listening to the medical experts in giving their opinions on this.

    • The more a neighborhood rations tests as only to those that have had confirmed prolonged contact with a confirmed positive patient AND are exhibiting strong symptoms, the higher the positive percentages will be. They did 1100 tests in a neighborhood with a population of 90,000-110,000. 99.3% of the neighborhood has not tested positive, if you want to look at it like that. I’m not saying this has not reached crisis proportions in frum neighborhoods, but the data this article presents is a joke that only highlights the inadequate testing done and why the caseload in the city continues to rise do to the insufficient resources and uncoordinated response from the responsible government and health agencies to fight it.

  4. Hey Honest… Trumpsaid it was a flu because Fauci said it was a flu as did other doctors at the time.
    The demented DemonRats said NOTHING. except to play in the streets, eat at Mardi Gras and Chinatown despite the virus. Whe Trump mentioned it in State of the Union, that Salem witch ripped it up.. Don’t propagandise… America sees what evil they did.

      • You can’t tell the difference between different posters’ styles, and realize that the above post sounds nothing like him? There’s more than one poster here who understand the evil that the Democrats have and are perpetrating, you know.

    • 1. Politico has an interview with Dr. Fauci published on 3/2/2020 (they interviewed him 2/28/2020) where he is warning that this will be bad. He also said that he has to be careful to not contradict Trump. On 3/9/2020 Trump was still calling this the Flu. On 2/28/2020 there were about 60 cases in the US with ZERO deaths. So NO Trump did not listen to his experts. He went with his gut instead. How well did that work out here when it matters more than ever?

      2. When you talk about Chinatown you probably refer to comments from early February. At that point there were near zero cases reported in the US. The chance of any significant spread at that point was probably very low and it is not surprising that people would not have been aware of how serious it was.

      Regardless of all this, the President is the one who has to lead on this as it need to be dealt with at a national level (what is going to happen when the cases in NYS plummet and we are ready to reopen but some other State is still in a crisis. You open NYS people will come to NYS and cause further spread. Hence, you need to get it all under control or shut State borders.. fyi, Dr. Fauci who the President has trouble listening to, did say he does not understand why any State at this time is not under some shut down order). But he has first been in denial, possibly slowing our response to this (such as getting critical supplies produced) and his lack of national action on this means that throughout the US there will be and more cases of this, meaning there will be a lot of American’s that might die due to lack of ventilators.

  5. CNN said it was nothing. Pelosi Schiff never mentioned it. Oh, Pelosi did say to party and fress at outdoor Chinatown fest. All Fake news anchors never said a word. Unless the word was impeachment.
    Trump shut Chinese flights and the criminal networks attacked him as xenophobic. Don’t revise recent history . Not gonna work. Now they want to shut down the prez briefings. While his popularity soars… Eat your hearts out..

    • Used to be the buck stopped with the President. I guess now, it stops with the opposing party in the lower house of congress.

      FYI, regarding CNN, you must have not seen the article form 2/26/2020 where they mention a top official at the CDC, Dr. Nancy Messonnier warning that there will be community spread of this in the US and that people should think about getting ready. The CDC even tweeted on 2/25/2020 that people should being preparing for this.

      Purim was 3/10/2020. Don’t rewrite history.

      As to the Chinatown festival, that was beginning of February before community spread was a concern in the US (near zero cases detected in the US at that time). At that time, Trump should have been making sure we have testing in place and increasing supply of medical supplies… Oh, right, that did not work out… So blame the Democrats.

    • The medication he talks about is not proven to work, there is some recent studies it might help it not spread. Everyone should take it who has symptoms – as why not. This Dr. plays this coronavirus down, and make it not so serious by saying to young people you will not die from it. He is right, but the more young people that catch it the more older people die. When speaking to the wide community you MUST have to have at least some sechiel (brains) to see what indirectly can come out of your speech.

  6. Just need to mention, the Governors that were vehemently against these off label drugs had a legitimate concern. There are many people, with Lupus for example, that really need this drug on a chronic steady basis. They were afraid of a craze which would make the drug unavailable for them.
    The pharma industry is not simply order and get delivery. There are constant lists of drugs that are unavailable for periods. A sudden run on a drug can make it out of stock for weeks and months.

  7. The end of the article should be corrected!

    ” Israel is experiencing an even more extreme phenomenon, as more than a third of the total population of the haredi city of Bnei Brak is estimated to have coronavirus, according to the Times of Israel”

    Actually times of Israel just posted today a correction from Maccabi the source of the statistic

    “Ran Saar, CEO of Maccabi, the HMO for one in two Bnei Brak residents, was widely quoted on Thursday telling a Knesset committee that 38 percent of people in the city are infected with coronavirus. But Hadari said that Saar wasn’t giving numbers for the general population of the ultra-Orthodox city, but rather discussing a very different statistic: what percentage of people there who felt unwell and went for a test in recent days actually had coronavirus.

    All of the 1,300 people tested, Hadari stressed, had some coronavirus-like symptoms, and many had been referred by family doctors.

    Hadari said that his colleague’s analysis was misquoted by many to imply a negative view of Haredim. “It’s amazing that his words have been taken and turned against the Orthodox population,” said Hadari.”

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