Unmasked protester disrupts briefing on NYC COVID hot spots

An unmasked, yelling protester disrupted a press conference from the New York City Department of Health on Friday, screaming out insults and calling the media and city officials liars. 

The man's interruption forced the press conference to end early.

“My name is Heshy Tischler and you will see the new sheriff in town. We’ll be making changes in the city,” said the protester.

This event was intended to be an opportunity for the health department to announce its efforts to crack down on newly discovered COVID-19 clusters in Brooklyn in four predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods: Williamsburg, Borough Park, Bensonhurst, and in Midwood.

“Where we stand here physically today, there are three times as many new cases every day of coronavirus,” said Dr. Ted Long, executive director of NYC Test & Trace Corps.

“We have made hundreds of thousands of robocalls directly to people living in these communities, we have handed out tens of thousands of masks, thousands of pamphlets with information about how one can protect themselves as well as their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s Health Commissioner.  

In Queens, Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens have also seen a recent surge. These new clusters in just a small handful of neighborhoods account for 20% of all of the recent positive cases citywide.

President and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, Mitchell Katz, revealed earlier this week his father-in-law died from COVID-19 while in Israel. He’s now warning that we could see extreme measures put in place all over again right here in New York.

“One of the possibilities, if we are not able to decrease the number of infections in these neighborhoods, is that we would have to require all the nonessential businesses to close,’ said Dr. Katz.

More mobile testing units will be set up in the neighborhoods officials consider to be problematic. The high holiday of Yom Kippur begins this weekend. In anticipation, the health department has distributed more than 200,000 masks to synagogues all across the city.

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