Cuomo calls COVID-19 resurgence an ‘ultra-orthodox’ Jewish problem

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the resurgence of the coronavirus in parts of New York is mainly an “ultra-orthodox” Jewish problem.

Cuomo, during an interview on CNN Friday morning morning, was asked about a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Diocese opposing his new COVID-19 safety restrictions on gatherings at houses of worship as violating religious freedom.

“The cluster is predominantly an ultra-orthodox cluster,” Cuomo said, referring to the conservatively devout Jewish sect.

“This has nothing to do with religious freedom,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo acknowledged that Catholic schools are being closed because they’re located within the “ultra-orthodox” Jewish cluster — not because of rising infection rates there.

But the governor said the restrictions on gatherings at houses of worship and the closure of schools are needed across-the-board within the clusters or hotspots to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

The rules cover everyone, he said.

“You have to follow the rules,” Cuomo said.

He said the biggest coronavirus hotspot is “in the middle of Brooklyn” — overlapping with the borough’s orthodox Jewish communities — and failure to follow safety protocols “will make other people sick.”

“They’re not following the rules. When you don’t follow the rules,” Cuomo said, “the infection rate goes up.”

Cuomo said encouraging religious groups to abide by government safety edicts “gets complicated” because of their “cultural” views and practices.

Angry protests have been held in Brooklyn’s largely Hasidic Borough Park, with participants opposed to Cuomo’s school closures and restrictions on religious gatherings seen attacking journalists for reporting and recording the events. Many of the protesters were not wearing face masks.

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