LAKEWOOD-One of the largest Purim parties in Lakewood Township has been cancelled because organizers feel the risk to public safety is a concern over the spread of the Coronavirus.
While no immediate risk has been announced in New Jersey, Doctor Richard Roberts, who hosts the annual event for the community said it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“I did what I thought was right because of the potential threat to life. I didn’t do it lightly,” Roberts said in a NBC News interview. “We have hundreds of people at any one time, dancing together, running around, jumping, whatever they’re doing. That’s exactly what you don’t want to have when there’s an infectious disease threat.”
Roberts said the communal nature of the Orthodox Jewish religion increases the risks of the transmission of viruses such as the coronavirus. He said Orthodox Jews pray multiple times daily in large groups and at such a large event with so many people attending, he’d rather play it safe this year.
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the CDC said in a statement. “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.”
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community,” the CDC added.
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, CDC strongly encourages event organizers and staff to prepare for the possibility of outbreaks in their communities.
Learn more about how to stop the spread of the coronavirus. visit the CDC website.