Radio host Heshy Tischler heckled the event, branding the officials liars and comparing them to Nazis, as he claimed that he needed to interrupt the event to tell the real truth about the alarming clusters.
Tischler was repeatedly asked to wear a mask but refused as he interrupted the conference until it was eventually called off.
He was joined by a man The Gothamist identified as Borough Park resident Heshy Brach who also shouted at city officials and told them to go back to their own neighborhoods.
It came as Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office to enforce coronavirus guidelines in heavily Jewish neighborhoods in the city but faced pushback because of the growing influence of President Donald Trump.
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Radio host Heshy Tischler heckled the event in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on Friday
‘All you have is your violent Nazi storm troopers coming in here,’ Tischler said
There has been a recent spike in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City
‘Go to East New York,’ Brach said Friday as he confronted the officials. ‘I’ll bring you some n—-rs, I’ll throw you some rocks. You want antifa here?’
The men crashed a COVID-19 awareness meeting being held by NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi and Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test & Trace program, who are concerned about the surge in cases in predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.
Yet as soon as the event began, Tischler began to shout out. The event was eventually called off after 20 minutes when he refused to stop interrupting the speakers.
‘Forty percent of the tests are incorrect number one,’ he claimed.
‘You’re saying it’s tripled but if you come to any of my two hospitals in the neighborhood, there’s one coronavirus patient. Where are all these people? Maybe we’re at home maybe, we’re hiding them somewhere in the basement so you can’t see them but I haven’t seen them.
‘You and I know that 40 percent or 50 percent of test results are wrong so your update numbers are wrong,’ Tischler continued.
‘How come I don’t see you at testing booths all over? Instead all you have is your violent Nazi storm troopers coming in here. I’m gonna say what I want and they’re coming in to violate us.’
The radio host recorded the whole altercation on his phone, as did Brach who then interuppyed after a member of the city’s team tried to give him a mask to wear.
‘Get away from me if you don’t like it,’ he answered.
‘You don’t live here, show me your address, show me your driver’s license. Get the f** out of here, I pay your paycheck.
‘Go home go to your nice house somewhere. It’s my freedom I don’t have to wear your mask.’
Dr. Long said that he wished to answer their questions and gave a brief summary.
‘Thankfully we have not seen the same uptick yet that we did when coronavirus hit in March and April,’ he began.
‘That means we have time to act now. We’re here today because as you said, if we do everything I said the virus would be suppressed in this community fairly quickly. We can do this together.
Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s Test & Trace program, attempted to answer the men
Tischler interupted the awareness event branding city health officials as liars
Tischler continued to interrupt until the events was called off
‘The second questions was the troops we are bringing in. We’re bringing in 12 new mobile units on Tuesday of this coming week,’ Dr. Long continued.
‘And your third question was a vaccine. To the extent that its our purview, we’re going to make it equitably available to everybody as soon as humanly possible.’
The meeting then attempted to continue and take further questions from the crowd but Tischler interrupted again.
‘It’s a privilege that you should be here,’ he says to one person in the crowd.
‘He can not say stuff without proof so I will answer too. You can’t say stuff without proof. Less then .5 percent of the city of New York had coronavirus, .5 percent.
‘They lie. I don’t know why they’re lying. What are you doing to your brothers and sisters,’ he added as the event was shut down.
The ugly scene unfolded in Borough Park, one of the areas in the new ‘Ocean Parkway Cluster’ that has seen a surge in cases despite the relatively low numbers in New York on average.
Borough Park resident Heshy Brach also interrupted and shouted at officials
The event was intended to raise awareness in the Orthodox Jewish community
On Thursday, the New York City Health Department threatened to shutter non-essential businesses in those neighborhoods as early as next week if the number of coronavirus infections did not fall.
‘For the first time in the city’s recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by next Monday evening,’ a statement from the Department read.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also noted the uptick in those neighborhoods and stated: ‘It’s something we have to address with a very aggressive public health effort right away’.
Dr Katz, the CEO of New York City’s public healthcare system, said the city would distribute masks, gloves and hand sanitizer while officials will ask religious leaders to reinforce key public health messages.
Robocalls in English and Yiddish and sound trucks will urge residents to physically distance and wear a face covering, Katz said.
Three members of New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community have died from COVID-19 just hours after presenting at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn (pictured)
Ambulances line up outside Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park on Friday
On Friday, NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi opened the press conference by warning that the uptick in parts of Queens and Brooklyn was ‘the most precarious moment since we came out of lockdown’.
‘We know that no area of New York City has herd immunity,’ Katz, who is Jewish and grew up in the Ocean Parkway area, later added.
‘Herd immunity occurs when more than 80 percent of people are immune and that protects everyone.’
City officials have been accused of anti-Semitic bias, however, for targeting the communities.
‘For the last six months, the de Blasio administration has limited their COVID communication with the Orthodox community to threats, fines, and violations,’ said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, whose district includes Gravesend and Midwood.
‘Now, when education is needed, they are finally reaching out, again, with intimidation and threats.’
Officials threatened to ban gatherings of more than 10 and double down on fines for those refusing to wear a mask from Tuesday if the situation in the hotspot areas does not improve over the weekend.
Brooklyn’s Midwood, Borough Park, Bensonhurst and South Williamsburg, as well as Queens’ Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, health officials say.
The increased cases in those six neighborhoods have not caused a spike in the weekly average trends for New York City infections.
The current daily average of cases in New York City is at 334, which is down from the 6,300 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in a single day at the height of the outbreak in the city in April.
The efforts by city officials to curb the outbreak in these neighborhoods has faced push back because of their support for President Trump who was reluctant to support the wearing of masks.
According to the New York Times, Borough Park and Midwood were islands of support for President Trump during the 2016 election.
In one precinct the president won 89 percent of the vote.
He is viewed as an ally on issues like school choice, religious freedom and support for Israel.
There has been more than 231,000 confirmed cases across New York City and more than 19,000 deaths from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.
On Friday, it emerged that three members of New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community died from COVID-19 just hours after being admitted to the same hospital.
The three men each presented at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood on different days this week with severe coronavirus symptoms.
According to The New York Post, each of the men were ‘too sick to be saved’ and died before they could be properly treated. Their names have not been publicly released.