BROOKLYN (VIN/Sandy Eller) – Emotions ran high at a Thursday night Zoom meeting to discuss Brooklyn’s ongoing lockdown, with a rare display of anger from elected officials over changes in the way COVID data is being reported to the public.
Hamodia (https://bit.ly/3osS6Q4) reported that multiple city officials participated in the conference call including Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Vice President of New York City Health + Hospitals Dr. Ted Long and more than twenty representatives of both the Department of Health and City Hall.
The group addressed concerns expressed by City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Kalman Yeger and Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Simcha Eichenstein who said that the shift from releasing daily infection rates to numbers that reflect 28 day totals has kept swaths of Brooklyn unfairly locked down.
Eichenstein said that he has data proving that part of his district has been showing rates below the three percent threshold for lockdown for several days, information that Daskalakis could easily compile and release.
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“With all due respect, I respect what you guys do, you know all this better than me, a 28 day range is garbage,” said Eichenstein, who asked for the release of daily data by zip code to allow the public to see for themselves how ongoing efforts to control the latest spike have progressed.
Deutsch shared his indignance over the way officials have been selectively enforcing restrictions in the Jewish community. He blasted the Department of Health for focusing its efforts on issuing summonses instead of working with local leaders and elected officials to encourage greater health and safety measures and also asked for daily testing results to be released.
That request was echoed a third time by Yeger who said that holding back that data was fanning the flames of anti-Semitic rhetoric on an international level.
“You have the information,” said Yeger. “We’re getting tagged in a certain way. So therefore, the media flies into our neighborhood with cameras to show, ‘Oh look at those dirty Jews roaming around the street. Look at them. They dress funny, they look funny, they’re diseased.’ It is a narrative that is catching on.
Open up the Daily News on a day-to-day basis, and read the Voicers, the page with all the letters. Look at the anti-Semitic [statements] that get said about Jews on a day to day basis. You know why that’s happening? Because of the City of New York. It’s happening because of the numbers that [the city is] putting out.”
Long described himself as “devastated” to hear about the anti-Semitic backlash of the lockdowns and said that officials would be in touch with the elected officials on the matter.