An Open Letter to the Jewish Community of the 5 Towns:

September 1, 2020 9:17 am
September 1, 2020 9:17 am1 Comment

We are writing to express our unanimous medical opinion regarding our community’s actions and attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our consensus group includes physicians from a variety of specialties.  We wish to express our clear and concerted support for some positions that we feel are medically indisputable:

1) COVID-19 remains a clear and present danger.  After a quiet summer, cases are now on the rise, specifically in our community.   COVID-19 is not a political issue, nor is it old news.   If our goal is to keep shuls and schools open and our neighborhood stores in business, we need to recognize that the uptick demands that we take it seriously and follow appropriate precautions.

2) People who have a positive test, recent exposure or who have been in a region requiring quarantine need to strictly uphold the quarantine without exception, including for shul and school.  In questions of doubt regarding exposure, we should attempt to be stringent, not lenient.  Travel from states on the NYS designated travel advisory list or known COVID-19 exposure requires a 14-day quarantine period. In the event of a positive COVID test, an individual is required to isolate for at minimum 10 days, or longer based on the duration of symptoms. The quarantine regulations are not suggestions, they are absolute requirements.  Violating them will undoubtedly lead to accelerated community spread and puts lives at real risk.  People should be in close contact with their physicians regarding any COVID-related concerns.

3) Masking to prevent COVID-19 infection has a strong evidence base that is agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of doctors and public health experts.  There is no credible evidence that masks have any risks for those who wear them. They are most effective when worn both by those who have the virus and those at risk of catching it.  Wearing a mask is not just about one’s personal choice, but also about not spreading the virus to others in the event of asymptomatic or early infection. Masks should not have a breathing valve or vent, since these expose others to potential infection. Masks with breathing valves are for protecting the wearer from environmental dust and debris and NOT meant for infection control.

4) Local schools and yeshivot have invested substantial effort into formulating safe plans to allow schools to open and remain open.  The details of these plans may vary, but the medical advisory boards have done their utmost to ensure schools can stay open safely. By helping their children adhere to these new rules, parents can play an integral role in enabling in-person school to continue.

5) As current contact tracing evidence has shown, many of the new cases of infection have arisen from large gatherings (weddings, bar and bat mitzvah, concerts …) where social distancing and/or mask wearing was not strictly observed.   While we pray that we should know of happy occasions, these must be celebrated according to a “new norm” and in a fashion that will cause the least risk of community transmission.  Large gatherings are best kept to a small number of people, outdoors if possible, with social distancing and mask rules applied. More information can be found at

Finally, biomedical research is a body of knowledge like any other.  Interpreting it requires knowledge of medicine and understanding of statistics.  Assuming that someone has thoroughly researched a position based on their reading a popular summary or even an abstract alone can lead to erroneous and dangerous conclusions.

You trust us to take care of you when you are sick and at your most vulnerable, and in life and death decisions. You trust us to deliver your babies, treat your children, manage your chronic conditions, and fix your fractures. We collectively request that you trust us in this, as well.

With wishes for a shana tova/healthy new year,

Rabbi Aaron E. GlattMD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEAInfectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology
Alissa HershMDAllergy & Immunology
Hylton LightmanMD DCH(SA) FAAPPediatrics
Ilana PisterMD FAAPPediatrics
Pamela SingerMD, MSPediatric Nephrology
Joshua SchechterMDEmergency Medicine/Internal Medicine
Marc J. SicklickMD, FAAAAI, FACAAIAllergy and Immunology
Steven KellnerMDPediatrics
David RosenbergMD FAAPPediatrics
Joseph RozenbaumMD FAAPPediatrics
Dan A. KaufmanMDAnesthesiology
Marcel ScheinmanMD, FACSPlastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Ray SultanMDUrology
Alisa MinkinMDPediatrics
Tova Fischer IsseroffMDOtolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery
Jonathan ZinbergMDGastroenterology
Elie LowensteinMDDermatology
Harold S. HefterMD, FAADDermatology & Dermatologic Surgery
Sherrie NeusteinMDPediatrics
Alyssa FeinerMDDermatology
Moshe WeizbergMD, FACEPEmergency Medicine
Donnie IsseroffMDAnesthesiology
Jill LeibowitzMDPediatrics
Stanley GoldsteinMDAllergy, Immunology, Pediatric Pulmonary
Steve MermelsteinMDPulmonary
Jonathan Y RosnerMD FACOGMaternal Fetal Medicine
Yussy SilversteinMDPediatrics
Rebecca ZausmerMDPediatrics
Edward StrohMDOphthalmology Retina Specialist
Norman SaffraMD FACS FAAO,Ophthalmology
Frida PopilevskyMDPulmonary and Critical Care
Daniel HallerMD FACSAcute Care Surgery
Sam SingerMDNeuro-Oncology
Ben ChillMDEmergency Medicine
Danny BamiraMDCardiovascular Disease
Josh GreensteinMDEmergency Medicine
Sam WeissmanMDGastroenterology
Joshua KalowitzMDBreast Cancer
Aaron B. GrotasMDUrology
Shari Seinuk-RossMDPediatrics
Seymour HuberfeldMDPulmonary and Sleep Medicine
Shira BurnsteinMDInternal Medicine
Steven WeissMD FACPInfectious Diseases
Farid ShahkoohiMDInternal Medicine
Steven KadishMDGastroenterology
Sheldon P. HershMDOtolaryngologist
Elizabeth EdelsteinDOFamily Medicine/Urgent Care
Joseph SimpsonMD,Anesthesiology
Elliot M. PaulMDUrology
Elliott SalamonDOVascular Neurology
Jordan BrodskyMDRheumatology
Robert van AmerongenMDUrgent Care/Pediatrics/Emergency
Yoseph GurevichMDPediatric Gastroenterology
Jacob RauchwergerMDPain Management
Daphna ShiffeldrimMD, MPHChild and Adolescent Psychiatry
David WolfsonMDOb/gyn
Max S. ScheerMDInternal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Karyn Chanie GinaburgMDEndocrinology
Haim BrandspiegelMDCardiology
Peretz LockDOInternal Medicine
Yaakov LipshitzMDHematology/Oncology
Charles MitgangMDInternal Medicine
Naomi SchwartzMDPediatrics
Harold LipskyMDGastroenterology
Miriam R. LiebermanMD, FAADDermatology
Anne SteinerMDOphthalmology
Ari SteinerMDRadiology
Aviva PremingerMDPlastic Surgery
Victor MilloulMDAnesthesiology
Ezra HallerMDNephrology/Internal Medicine
Cindy HallerMDPediatric Gastroenterology
David HershMDCardiology
Dan GeislerMDAnesthesiology
Rabbi Chaim S. AbittanMDGastroenterology/Hepatology
Shloime DalezmanMDNephrology
Yosefa HefterMDPediatric Infectious Disease
Miriam KnollMDRadiation Oncology
Michael GrushkoMDCardiology/EP
Debbie RybakMDInfectious Diseases
Sheldon GorbaczMDPathology
Suzanne Sirota RozenbergDODermatology
Shoni RozenbergDODermatology
Barbara SchwartzMDPM&R
Freddie MartonMDPediatric Neurology
Shira WiederMDDermatology
Eli HalpertMDVascular & Interventional
Rabin RahmaniMD, FACGGastroenterology
Zahava HershDOFamily Practice
Martin E KesslerMD FACS,Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Deborah Lief-DienstagMD, FAAPPediatrics
Zev CarreyMDInternal, Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine
Paul FriedmannMDNephrology
Daniel FrogelMDEmergency Medicine
David E. SimaiMDPediatrics
Victor RosenbergMDMaternal-Fetal Medicine
Fred GreensteinMDUrology
Hana IlanMDPM&R
Elliot LedermanMDInternal medicine
Nechama (Nina) AckermanMDEmergency Medicine
Israel SamsonMDInternal Medicine
Ira L. WegMDCardiology
Brian WetchlerDOInternal Medicine
Israel S BerkowitzMDCardiology
Alyssa ScheinerMDGeneral Surgery
Michael R. LevineMDInternal Medicine
Abby BasalelyMDPediatric Nephrology
Charles TraubeMDCardiology
Yussi MosakMDRheumatology
Janine NathanDOPediatrics
Gerald SchulmanMDPediatrics
Jay FensterMDGastroenterology
Benjamin LevineMDRheumatology
Simcha HerrmannMDPain Management
Leonard A. FeinerMD, PhDOphthalmology
Jeff LumermanMDUrologist
Jonathan SchulhofMDOphthalmology
Abraham I GreenMDPediatrics
Zev AshMDPediatrics
Mark SperberMDPediatrics
Ari GinsbergMDHematology/Oncology
Moshe SchlusselbergMDPediatrics
Max HalpernMDPediatrics
Stephen HeneschDODiagnostic and Pediatric Radiology
Rivkie Penstein-HirtMDOBGYN
Ingrid SoltysMDPediatrician
Jeffrey A SpivakMDInternal Medicine/Cardiology
Arnold SteinMDOphthalmology
Samuel SandowskiMDFamily Medicine/Adolescent Medicine
Michael I. OppenheimMDInfectious Disease
Jessica L. KirschnerMDPediatrics
Morey KleinMDCardiology
Judith GreenMDGeneral Pediatrics
Marilyn KattuputhusserilDOPediatrics
Avi SchiowitzDOInternal Medicine
Miriam FlaumDOAnesthesia
Yacov StollmanMDGastroenterology
Jeffrey FrielingMDOphthalmology

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