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COVID-19 Update | Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD

We are again at a crossroads. Both in the Jewish calendar, entering into Yom Kippur, where life and death decisions will be made, and in the world of COVID-19,

with a disconcerting continuing rise in cases in our area, where life and death decisions will be made.

Mi Bamageifa” (“and who will die by plague…”)

In just the past 24 hours, I have been inundated with numerous pressing shailos from communities all over regarding COVID-19 exposures. Here are but a few of the quarantine questions that Rabbonim and shul presidents have asked me:

“Our Rosh Hashana chazzan said wearing a mask was too difficult. He davened for the amud without one. He developed symptoms and tested positive the following day…”

“Our Rav gave a drasha on Rosh Hashana without a mask. He turned positive the next day…”

“A Rebbi (who was also a chazzan in a shul) did not wear a mask in his school or shul. He turned positive after Rosh Hashana…”

All wanted to know – does everyone in shul / school class need to quarantine?  

Speciously, many people remain unconcerned about their spreading COVID-19 and ruining Yom Kippur and Succos for everyone they come into contact with, as evidenced by the laxity in some communities and some individuals regarding masking and distancing compliance. Based on what?

To remove any doubts about the scientific truths to date, these are the undisputed COVID-19 facts.

Worldwide to date:  ​Cases: 31,672,300;  Deaths: 972,081

United States to dateCases:   6,897,661;   Deaths: 200,818

The U.S. this week has an average of 41,490 new COVID-19 cases daily, up 13% from the average seen two weeks ago. That comes to 13 new cases / 100,000 population. At least 27 states are now reporting increased cases compared to just 9 states on September 14. On average, the U.S. is seeing ~ 770 daily deaths, and a model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. death toll will double to 400,000 before the end of the year. The U.S. accounts for 4% of the world’s population, but has ~ 20% of the world’s deaths from COVID-19. Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an excellent reputable senior epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, stated: “I think we’re just in the beginning of what’s going to be a marked increase in cases in the fall. And it won’t be just a testing artifact, either. This is real.”

Israel: Sadly, acheinu beis Yisroel has been averaging well over 4,000 new cases daily, a rate of 47 new cases / 100,000, a rate 3.5x the U.S. incidence, a rate higher than any other country in the world at this time. Today there were 6,782 cases. Hospitals in Israel are nearing overload, surpassing the safe number of patients that they are able to care for Hashem yeracheim

5 Towns: Each one of the 5 Towns falls in the highest new case incidence numbers for Nassau County. Lawrence holds the number one spot in the County for the last 8 weeks, with Cedarhurst 3rd, followed by Great Neck 4th, Woodmere 5th and Hewlett 6th. Inwood is 8th.

Far Rockaway: FR has the distinction, along with 5 other neighborhoods (Midwood, Borough Park, Williamsburg, Kew Gardens and Bensonhurst) of accounting for 20% of all new NYC cases. 

How do you think these / our neighborhoods are described in the lay press and by the Department of Health? What type of comments do you think are being made on the media?

Why is this happening now?

This all “re-started” with the flagrant disregard for scientifically vetted guidelines around weddings and kiddushim, large public gatherings, with many people eating unmasked and in close proximity.  

What proof exists, you may ask, that such events indeed cause suffering? Maine public health officials just published a shocking report of an August 7th wedding in Millinocket, Maine. At the wedding, guests ignored social distancing guidelines and mask recommendations. The results: 135 guests got COVID-19,with 7 guests DYING from this wedded bliss exposure. Do you think that young couple will ever be able to look back happily at what should have been one of the most joyous events in their life, knowing that their “simcha” was the cause of so much misery? This wedding is just one in a list of several studied “superspreader” events in the country over the summer. How many more are still to occur?

 

Do we all have such a short collective memory of what happened Purim and Pesach? Have we forgotten the numerous funerals and shivah calls that we zoomed? Aren’t we “gomlei chassadim”?

How can any person insist on their ‘right’ to not wear a mask when it will potentially cause a fellow person to die? When it might perpetuate a vile chilul Hashem that our community does not follow public health guidelines? How many yeshivas and shuls have to be publicly quarantined before we realize the bittul Torah and bittul tefillah betzibbur that we have caused? 

All of this can still be avoided by following the simple – and not so difficult – halachic obligation to mask and social distance. This statement is based on my conversations with numerous poskim from all aspects of the frum community. 

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A couple of important brief news items worthy of dissemination. 

From the MMWR:

While early in the pandemic, COVID-19 incidence was highest among older adults, this picture has drastically changed and may explain in part the decreased rate of hospitalizations that we are experiencing and allowing for less severe disease presentations. During June – August 2020, COVID-19 incidence was highest in persons aged 20 – 29 years, who accounted for > 20% of all confirmed cases. 

Important to remember, however, is that younger adults do contribute to community transmission of COVID-19. Across the southern United States in June 2020, increases in percentage of positive COVID-19 testing results among adults aged 20–39 years preceded increases among those aged ≥60 years by 4–15 days. What this means is that the next two weeks are very important in determining what the current increased caseload will mean to the ‘at greater risk’ populations. The authors therefore strongly stated that strict adherence to community mitigation strategies and personal preventive behaviors by younger adults is critical to reduce infections and subsequent transmission to persons at higher risk for severe illness.

From the MMWR

Symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection are Boruch Hashem milder in children compared with adults. However, we should not mistakenly think that all children will have unimportant mild clinical illness. There tragically have been 121 COVID-19 associated deaths among children aged < 21 years reported to the CDC by July 31, 2020. 12 (10%) were infants and 85 (70%) were aged 10–20 years. 33% of the deaths occurred outside of a hospital.

Persons aged < 21 years can unfortunately get very sick from COVID-19. This paper illustrates why this disease cannot be taken lightly by anyone.

From the BMJ: 

Post-acute covid-19 (known colloquially as “Long Covid”) is a poorly understood multisystem disease, sometimes occurring even after a relatively mild acute illness, but more frequently in patients exposed to a higher inoculum of virus and having more severe disease. Clinical management requires a whole-patient perspective, is quite labor intensive, and has only limited benefit at best. At least 10% of people experience prolonged illness after COVID-19, with a recent US study finding that 35% of people had not returned to their previous level of health 14 – 21 days after their positive test. While many of these patients recover spontaneously (albeit slowly) with holistic support, rest, symptomatic treatment, and gradual increase in activity, the true long term prognosis of long COVID-19 remain to be determined.

In the merit of our masking and thereby doing the bidding ofHashem, 

may we all merit a gmar tov and good Shabbos.

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There are 45 Comments to "COVID-19 Update | Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD"

  • ruby says:

    as someone following data very closely , this is the first of rabbi glatts many “updates ” that actually has real data to back up his suggestions .

    • Important Data says:

      To those who have tested positive, please consider taking Quercetin and Zinc. I’ve done a lot of research on these two over the counter supplements. They are generally safe to take but ask your doctor. I have gathered over 75 successful cases of people who used them for Covid and recovered Quickly or tested negative despite being exposed to those infected. Basically the way Quercetin works is that it acts as a zinc ionophore,which allows zinc to enter the cells and thereby inhibit viral replication. Quercetin has also shown in studies to reduce inflammation, helping reduce the cytokine storm induced by viruses. It has shown promising results in vitro for SARS 1, influenza and many other viruses/bacteria. Turkey has recently conducted a study with Quercetin for Covid. While the full results are not out yet, I personally contacted the trial administrator and was told it was a success. Results should be out soon.

      • S209 says:

        That’s not how data works. Have you found people who have taken the things you suggested and not recovered quickly? Have you seen a difference between that cohort and those who did *not* take the supplements?

        You can’t point to one data subset as even a suggestion of anything. That isn’t even anecdotal evidence.

        As always, most people who get COVID will recover relatively quickly, zinc or not. But an unacceptably high number will not.

    • ron from nj says:

      You may be following data closely, but you certainly haven’t been following Glatt closely. His weekly updates ALWAYS contain up-to-date references and data, and are published in a 5 towns Jewish paper that is free online. The oilam has mostly resisted implementing his suggestions, so all kinds of mostly absurd lomdus has been developed to upshlug him, as if he’s some kind of Navi sheker. But he has always presented data.

  • Yankel says:

    I don’t understand why TLS keeps ignoring the letters from the Rabbonim and only posting letter from doctors. We all see it.

    • TLS Editor says:

      That’s a false statement. We publish the letters we receive from both doctors and Rabbonim.

      • ron from nj says:

        Reb Yankel, I don’t understand your nekudah. Are you suggesting that Rabbonim are saying something different from Glatt? Actually, most Rabbonim are not saying anything publicly at all. And those who do are saying to heed the doctors’ recommendations. So what is your tai’na????

  • Steve says:

    Please don’t post anything from this fear mongering Dr who just wants to see schools and shuls shut down.

    • Scott says:

      Steve. With all due respect you do not know what you are talking about. Where is your evidence to back up your statements. We have a cousin that is an infectious disease doctor. He lives in California. I spoke to him in June multiple times and he said he is appalled at how Brooklyn and Lakewood are disregarding mask and social distancing guidelines. Perhaps you need to be educated on this. I would be happy to educate you.

  • yossi says:

    Good letter. I wish he said something about the need for people who already had it to wear masks. Also about why they were saying to wear the last four months when no one was getting sick in need of the hospital and also what changed now.But in any case it does sound like it may be a good idea to start if you haven’t already.

    • S209 says:

      Here’s an idea- the boich svaros people make up mean nothing. Otherwise, your kasha stands.. but for some reason, nobody in the medical world is astonished,

      Because you don’t know anything about medicine. So don’t make personal decisions without input from a doctor.

  • Shmiel says:

    What about all the doctors that are saying that everyone should get exposure this time around and that nobody should test???

    • Cowards? says:

      Names please. If anyone publicly says that the people getting intubated aren’t at risk, why not publish their names?
      Those who fear Hashem and posted under their name weren’t afraid of retaliations..

    • Fyi says:

      Millions of people have to die for so called herd immunity. Seriously….

  • anon says:

    Why? Do you know of a published letter from a Rav that doesnt suggest you behave with caution and responsibility?

  • Me says:

    Why are we assuming that masks protect against virus? It has not been proven. Social distancing does protect based on common sense. However, it is virtually to stay socially distant forever. What is the long term plan?

    • Common Sense says:

      Common sense says that masks offer some form of protection (at least for others).

    • S209 says:

      It is virtually impossible to stay alive forever, so what is the long term plan? May as well let ourselves go completely.

      If your sentiments weren’t echoed by so many, I’d label you mentally deficient. Unfortunately, your illogic is widely shared.

  • Lakewood Doctor says:

    There are no frum Lakewood doctors suggesting that everyone should get exposed. We don’t intentionally put people at risk of serious illness and death. At the current time, there are 13 people from Lakewood in the hospital. Four are in intensive care and three of those on ventilators. 40% of people on ventilators die. Steve is clearly uninformed. Dr. Glatt is a worldwide expert on infectious diseases. His goal is to keep people well and alive. Just look at the number of DEATHS occurring daily in Israel. Our community needs to stop putting its collective head in the sand and start acting responsibly. Masks and distancing are mandatory and it’s also the law. If you all start today, we may save some lives before the state comes in and forces us to comply which is just around the corner and sadly if current behavior continues may be the only way to protect our population.

    • Joe says:

      Lakewood Doctor,
      According to your own numbers, 40% of people on respirators die, and there are 3 people on respirators. I’m no doctor but I can do math. That equals a little more than 1 death!! That’s right. Just 1!! Without the distancing or masks or mandatory… So now is when everybody starts screaming “but 1 death is too many!! How can you minimize 1 death!!” Please spare me. Of course all death is tragic. It’s also inevitable. We can not inconvenience and harm – both physically as well as emotionally and mentally – thousands of people when the risk of death is so low. According to this doctor, all cars should be banned because the risk of death from automobile is hundreds of times higher than from Covid. I would even say that peanuts should be banned from all grocery stores because 1 person who is allergic may come into contact with it by mistake – and one death is too many.

      Wake up people! This is no longer about health. This is not about safety. This is not about science. How about being real about statistics for just a minute. Why are we looking at total cases and total deaths? Can we acknowledge that in the heart of this pandemic the hospitals were overwhelmed and didn’t know how to handle it. In addition, we all know that there were patients who died of neglect due to the overwhelmed hospitals and fear that the doctors and nurses had. As a result, many thousands of people died during the first 3 months, and we all knew some of them. But lets be honest. In the last 3 months, how many people have died of covid? How many do you know personally who have died from covid in the last 3 months? Do me a favor Lakewood Doctor. Check the statistics on total positive cases vs total deaths in this country in just the last 3 months and then tell me that Covid is a life or death kind of virus.
      Please. I beg everybody. Before putting people down and calling them “irresponsible” and “reckless” and that they “have blood on their hands” please do some research on your own. Look at the numbers – the real numbers – and then make a decision for yourself. May Hashem protect us all from illness in all forms – physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual. Gmar Chasima Tova!

      Joe

  • Chaya says:

    Two neighbors were just diagnosed with COVID this week. Their kids are not in school. These kids are playing outside all day and running up to the neighbors asking if they want to catch COVID. They find it funny but we do not. Any ideas?

    • Joe says:

      I have an idea. How about trusting the children? It’s amazing how much clearer we can see when we are innocent and ignorant. I guarantee that these same children were not joking about it back in March. So what changed? Simple. They don’t read the news. They don’t hear statistics. They don’t get lectured to by doctors. They just know what they can see and feel. They see reality in it’s simplest form. It’s called the “eye test.” Trust them. That’s my idea.

    • resident says:

      Speak to the parents! Most decent parents would be horrified to know that their children are displaying horrible midos. They probably don’t know what their kids are up to. There are people who are truly afraid to get Corona for various reasons (work, immuno compromised) and it is CHUTZPADIK of any child to do that to an adult! Kids will be kids. If the parents brush it off then you’ve got a problem….. and nebach so do the parents who will end up with kids who are chutzpahdik to more people than just the neighbors..

  • respectfully says:

    I take offense to being called irresponsible just because i disagree with you.There’s no need to be condescending.
    I make my decision together with my Dr. who is highly qualified and he happens to disagree with you.
    There are actually countless Drs who disagree with you who are silenced. Interesting, no?
    Our community actually should stop being judgemental, causing machlokes between families and fellow Jews. There are different approaches and opinions here, as there should be as its a new disease and just like I wouldnt claim to know it all, you shouldnt either.
    That is the Torah approach in my humble opinion, which happens to be backed up by numerous Gedolim.
    Youre in a position of authority which carries responsibility with it.
    Please dont sow machlokes amongst our fellow Yidden, because after all thats what takes the Shmira of HKBH away.

  • Yankel says:

    So you only publish letters if they are “sent to you” and not because, you know, they are newsworthy?

    • TLS Editor says:

      Correct. Letters (with signatures too) fly around social media all day, and the only way to verify its legitimacy is by receiving them directly from those involved. There are plenty blogs for postings containing every unverified letter out there.

  • a says:

    Being careful, wearing masks, social distancing is the ONLY way we can stay open. Dr. Glatt doesn’t want schools, Shuls and businesses to close! He’s sending out these messages so we can stay open and open in a way where lives will be saved. Thank you Dr. Glatt.

  • Seichel says:

    What’s with all the “frum doctor “ comments?
    Can someone explain the insinuation?
    Is it the doctor or the frum? because if it’s the frum I consider myself frum too.
    Would you like to hear my opinion?

  • Shainee Adler says:

    Why don’t you factor in the fact that the majority of the local people already have antibodies

  • a says:

    Dr. Glatt does not want to shut down businesses, shuls and schools. That is the last thing he wants. Masking and social distancing is the ONLY way for us all to stay open (and healthy.) Thank you Dr. Glatt.

  • Simcha says:

    Answer to Yossi.

    Doctors like Dr. Glatt have been saying all along to wear masks precisely so we could avoid the spike that we are now witnessing.

    As someone else pointed out, Lakewood now has a number of people in ICU on vents.

    The frum world has mistakenly felt that life could go back to normal when things became calm. But the CDC and Dr. Glatt have consistently told us otherwise. They warned us that reckless behavior would lead to this. But people said they would go back to social distancing if things got worse. Well we are now coping with the situation that we in part have caused by thinking we know better.

    We are now seeing the cost of “living life normally until things get worse again”. We now have numerous people in the hospital some of whom may not be coming home r”l.

    Was your freedom to drop your masks worth it?

  • Frenzy says:

    @chaya
    Yes locked them in a cage.
    Come on use some Sachal.

  • Shlomo says:

    I am fed up with these arrogant, condescending doctors lecturing us like petulant children.

    If the spread is indeed because of weddings why did this uptick only come now ? There have been weddings for three months already. Why did the good doctor not address this basic question?

    Maybe the uptick happened because schools opened. Maybe not. I dont know (and neither does he). If it is, well than what? We need schools.

    The good doctor did not cite any studies that masks are effective (because there are none) but then says it is a halachah! Wow. Of course its from unnamed rabbonim that “he spoke to” . Could we know who ?

    He admonishes us for our “flagrant violations” (I still can’t get over his condescending tone) of the guidelines. The guidelines ? These guidelines are an outright joke! They change every day and are made up out of thin air. You think Murphy has some scientific advice that he follows ??
    I’ll give 100 dollars to any person who can point out any corrolation between measures taken by NJ- or any other region or country- and some real results.There are countries that are masked up , locked down and what-not, and are still seeing surges. And vice versa.

    It is clear that even the doctors are in the dark here. They know as much as the layman as far as what to do during an epidemic; we already know by ourselves that if you’re not feeling well you stay home, and that we need to keep elderly people home. We don’t need doctors to inform us of this. And the rest of these guidelines are mostly garbage.

    Why can’t he admit that he knows very little? Seems like all he did here was a Google search. I could do that too.

    This uptick is is a gezeirah min hashamaim. It’s not people who are “causing” this epidemic and it’s time to stop this silly blame game.

  • sick and tired says:

    i had this virus back after purim and if it is only infecting young people now because the older and more compromised are taking precautions why uproot our whole lives because some people are sick in bed for a week or two even if it is a large amount of people?

  • Torah_truth says:

    @Chaya, call the police! If these kids had a gun and we’re shooting it off in the street, would you ask for advise what to do? We have been extremely careful but yet my wife tested positive Erev Yom Tov. This is NOT a joke and we shouldn’t just accept others irresponsibly when it endangers everyone else.

    • Joe says:

      I can’t even believe what I am seeing here?! This is insanity. Even according to the worst case scenario numbers, the death rate from this virus is less than 1%, and you are advocating calling the police on Jewish children who are playing outside after being thrown out of school?

      Does anybody still wonder why we are in Golus?! I know that people are scared and extreme but to this extent is truly terrifying. Jewish people advocating for calling the police on Jewish children who don’t have the virus but their parents do, and comparing them to “having a gun and shooting it off in the street.” Rachmana Litzlan. Klal Yisrael is in much more trouble from this baseless hatred for our fellow Jew than from the worse case Coronavirus scenario. I am truly speechless. And he calls himself Torah_truth? We are in big trouble…

  • Sam says:

    Chaya here’s an idea. CALL THE POLICE!! yes there is no issur to do that. They are putting people in sakanah and the parents seemingly could care less. Rav zilberstein said that even for someone nit wearing a mask one may (should)call the police. That’s where the person doesn’t even know or have reason to think that he has the virus. In your case your talking about a person who knows they have it. The are rodfim at best and maybe even rotzchim

    • Shlomo says:

      It would be advisable to call a rabbi before doing. It;s better than relying on Piskei Rav Sam MiComments Shel Lakewood Scoop

  • JoeSlomo says:

    To Joe/Shlomo, I wish you 2 luck in the Gmar Din. I know s/o personally that was exposed on R.H. BTW, all us medical professionals have science to back us up for Social Distancing & Mask Wearing.
    What proof do you have for your Absurd Posts?

  • Scott says:

    I think everyone needs to tone this rhetoric down. Yom Kippur is Sunday night.

  • Shlomo is right says:

    Shlomo is right. Time will show the truth. The numbers mean nothing because everyone knows they are highly inaccurate (every time the same person is retested, his positive test is added again, tests are wrong etc). We should focus on NOT having machlokes and helping each other. We should focus on davening to end this mageifa and to heal those who are sick. As @Torah_truth proved, you could do everything right and still get it. We need Achdus — not fear mongering and not having people being angry at each other and telling each other to wear a mask. Yes we all have different opinions because there is so much confusion and lying happening. Most people dont have enough information to even have a valid opinion. Everyone should do what they think is their best hishtadlus – and it may be different from someone elses. That being said if you do have symptoms of COVID, make sure to monitor oxygen levels and kill the virus RIGHT AWAY any way that you know because even mild cases have had lingering effects. See my other post for more ideas (Donate to Hatzolah post) Gmar Chasima Tova

  • Mesira is serious says:

    You should NEVER tell on another Jew unless YOU yourself asked a competent Poseik. This is very serious and surely keeps the geulah from coming cv.

  • If I would post my name I'll be inundated with calls says:

    The saddest thing about all of this is that WE are supposed to be a UNITED nation. All this hate is definitely not helping.

    Last year we divided over vaccination.

    This year Hashem chose corona.

    We are a nation of chessed (think of Hatzola, bikur cholim, rccs, bonei olem, misaskim, etc) we have it all.

    Yet if someone thinks or acts different then me then he’s wrong & I’M RIGHT!

    Let’s stop pointing fingers.

    Let’s wear a mask so someone else feels better (EVEN if we have all the PROOF it doesn’t work).

    Let’s get out of this ME frame of mind.

    Let’s prove we are a light unto the nations.

    Let’s daven that Hashem unites us ONCE AND FOR ALL!

    A g’mar chasima tova

  • The Satan is laughing says:

    The satan is laughing at all you who let the goyim mainstream media and fear control your lives . I’m sure those who would call the police on those little children would never call the police if you saw a Jew abusing(in the worst way) children. Oh no, chilul hashem. Let’s ask him nicely. Let’s shove problems under rug. Never mind he killed many children hundreds of times over.

    Anyway for the masks.
    Do the research . Look at Egypt, Sweden where there’s not a mask in sight. And look at israel where it’s strict as anything and the other strict countries. Tell me where there are more cases and deaths. I’ll give u a hint. It’s not in Egypt or Sweden. Talk about saving one life. Take HCQ for crying out loud. And don’t tell me heart problems when the entire Africa takes it every day.