Jewish gatherings are super spreader events, the governor explained during a press conference. As proof of their chronic non-compliance with his COVID-19 dictates, Cuomo presented two photos showing members of the Jewish community gathered closely together in the streets as if they were part of an anti-police protest or something.
The only problem is that one of the two photos Cuomo presented during his press conference is from 2006.
“We know religious institutions have been a problem,” Cuomo said Monday. “We know mass gatherings are the super spreader events. We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks. For weeks. I don’t mean little violations.”
He added, presenting his supposed evidence of said violations, “These are pictures from the past couple of weeks. And these are just emblematic. You’ve all seen pictures like this for weeks. What did you think was going to happen?”
The picture on the left was taken 14 years ago by AP photographer Stuart Ramson. The picture’s caption reads, “Mourners pack the congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar in the village of Kiryas Joel, N.Y., 45 miles northwest of New York City, after the casket containing the body of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum arrived, Tuesday, April 25, 2006.”
Cuomo continued Monday, saying that, in terms of numbers, large religious gatherings specifically have been causing much of the damage.
“You don’t see masks and you see clear violations of social distancing,” the governor said of the photos.
He then said in aside to an assistant, “When were these pictures from?”
The aide clarified that the picture on the right is “more recent” than the picture on the left. That is a bit of an understatement.
“Okay,” said Cuomo, “but they’re in the recent past. So, this has been going on for weeks.”
He continued, “If we’re going to keep religious institutions open, it can only be with two conditions. One: the community must agree, whether it’s the Jewish community, whether we’re talking about black churches, whether we’re talking about Roman Catholic churches, the religious community has to agree to the rules, and they have to agree that they are going to follow the rules. And they have to agree that they are going to be a full partner in the enforcement of the rules.”
Cuomo then said he would meet personally with members of the ultra-orthodox community to make that clear to them.
“This cannot happen again,” the governor said. “If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we’ll close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that. … If I do not have the agreement from the religious community directly, as a starting point, then we will close down the religious institutions.”