JUST IN: Hatzolah of New York Encourages People To Cancel Large Purim Gatherings


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Dear Community Member,

We are sure that you are all following recent news and events concerning COVID-19, a new strain of Coronavirus. There are increasing amounts of confirmed cases in the New York City area. We would like to advise the community of the recommendations from the CDC and other health experts.

First, do not panic! Although this virus is contagious, it is usually not life-threatening in healthy people. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some people don’t have any symptoms at all. The most common symptoms resemble the flu and include fever, fatigue, and dry cough. Some people also develop aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. The latest information about COVID-19 tells us that the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, especially lung disease, are most at risk for serious illness.

We are currently seeing an increase in community spread of the virus. Therefore, we are advising and encouraging you to cancel any large gatherings of people, if possible, including on Purim. The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets, much like the common cold or flu.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease is to avoid close contact with people who are sick and try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. The CDC also recommends against shaking hands, hugging, or kissing (people, mezuzahs, or Sifrei Torah).

Use proper cough etiquette, cover your mouth with your sleeve, and cough into your elbow (not into your hands).

Please wash your hands frequently using soap and water (20 seconds of lathering and rinsing each time) or a hand sanitizer gel/solution (preferably alcohol-based).

[TEHILLIM – Young Man From Flatbush In Serious Condition After Returning From Italy]

If you have a fever or had a fever over the past 48 hours, have an active cough or respiratory congestion, please stay home and call your doctor.

Chevra Hatzalah’s Executive Board and Medical Board are closely following the lastest COVID-19 updates. Hatzalah members are trained and equipped to respond to suspected cases of COVID-19. If you have minor symptoms, call your doctor. If you have significant symptoms, call Hatzalah. If in doubt, do not hesitate to call Hatzalah.

[DOCTOR ALERTS ABOUT PURIM PARTIES: Coronavirus and Purim: Changing Human Behavior]

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about COVID-19. Below are links to the CDC and NYS DOH COVID-19 websites:

CDC COVID-19 Website

NYS DOH COVID-19 Website

We would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe, and joyous Purim.

Chevra Hatzalah

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Dont panic , but cancel your purim party. Ridiculous , if you are asking me. Should weddings also be canceled? Based on their advice. Everyone in the world should lock themselves in a room for the rest of their lives. At the end of the day, we need to live our lives. So quit the hysteria and act responsibly and go on about your daily life

  2. If we don’t act responsibly now, more severe restrictions will be coming later.

    Italy had just 12 cases two weeks ago. Now they locked down one third of the country.

    We now have a window to slow this. I for one will not be getting drunk this purim.