Hatzolah Advising to Cancel Large Purim Parties Over Virus Fears

Hatzolah Advising to Cancel Large Purim Parties Over Virus Fears

New York – That extended family gathering on Purim should better wait for next year.

Hatzolah issued a health advisory recommending that large Purim parties be canceled this year as a mysterious virus creeps into the New York City area.

“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 advisory, dated Sunday, read. It adds that people should temporarily avoid kissing each other, mezuzas or sifrei Torah.

The coronavirus’ first case hit New York ten days ago, and has already spread to over 100 people. The level of contagion and mortality rate far outpaces other viruses such as the flu.

Hatzolah says it is closely monitoring the virus, also called COVID-19, and will keep people informed.

In the meantime, it asks, “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.

Most at risk are the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, especially lung disease.

“The most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease,” Hatzolah says, “is to avoid close contact with people who are sick and try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Use proper cough etiquette, cover your mouth with your sleeve, and cough into your elbow (not into your hands).”

Have a happy and safe Purim!

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