There are growing fears of a spike in COVID-19 within Hasidic communities following Passover.
There are growing fears of a spike in COVID-19 within Hasidic communities following Passover. Photo Credit: FLICKR

The Hasidic community in Brooklyn’s neighborhood of Kensington have seen a sharp rise in at-home fatalities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The Orthodox Brooklyn communities have shown some of the highest rates of infection throughout the five boroughs, according to the New York City Department of Health. In the area of Kensington, data shows there were 27 fatal cardiac arrest calls to the FDNY between March 1 and April 13, as opposed to just two during that same period in 2019.

In addition to the high death toll of coronavirus patients in hospitals, more residents are dying at home, leaving large numbers of the deceased unaccounted for. Details were shared by Gothamist after Governor Cuomo told New Yorkers to speculate that the number of deaths by Coronavirus is much more than originally recorded.

Matt Brauner, a volunteer Shomrim security patrol, told the news agency that requests have doubled in the past few weeks. Neighborhood residents call seeking help for isolated friends and relatives. And if the Shomrim believes that medical assistance is urgently needed, a Hatzolah– a Jewish emergency medical service– is contact.

“It’s troubling to think about it,” Brauner said. “It was difficult because we had to wait a day and a half until we were able to track down a family member to open the door.”

“I’m a little bit concerned about what’s going to be in a week or two,” he said.

The rate of transmission has appeared to slow down as orthodox communities slowly are beginning to abide by rules of social distancing.

But, there is still concern following the end of Passover, a holiday traditionally celebrated in large family gatherings, which ended this past Thursday.

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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  1. I don’t see the Hasidic community in Bedstuy adhering to the requirement to wear a face-covering in public or social distancing. Both could be helpful in stopping the spread of the virus in this community.

    1. They aren’t subject to secular law, only to sharia law (they call it halakha, but it’s the same old testament based laws). They even have their own religious courts instead of going through secular USA courts. They are called beis din. And there is no way these courts will force Jewish people to live by secular law.

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